The earliest thing I remember writing and feeling distinctly attached to was a haiku I had written in the third grade about a panda that knits. Our class was learning about Japanese culture and each day of the week was revolving around some different aspect of the culture (food, kanji, etc). This was the first time I thoughtfully created a piece. I mean, I was in the first grade, and the subject matter wasn’t of course complex or earth shattering but I remember feeling good fitting into the syllable count, clapping out the sounds, and digging into my brain for the right words.
In elementary school I recall writing a lot about animals. I wrote poems about tigers and even a research paper about them in the second grade. I was compelled nature which makes sense as back then, watching Animal Planet and any documentary on the Discovery Channel was something I’d spent many weekends doing with my granddaddy. This carried into middle school, but I started also writing about things like race, and interpersonal relationships.
I find it interesting now, as I’ve noticed that who I am as a writer, revolved a lot around images that pull from nature. Last year, one of the more angry and intense poems I created was a political commentary on the state of the environment. When I write about race, I find myself gravitating towards earthy, strong, rich images as for the African American community, we are connected to the roots of the country, through blood and through innovation.
In a recent poem I’ve written about in an effort for self-exploration, I remember I created a scene with a wedding and images of butterflies and the jungle were the things I flushed out. I never thought about it, but it’s interesting that I’ve been using the natural world so long for inspiration.
I will say, in nature pandas aren’t exactly keen on knitting, but I think my point is made. I also in my writing, use a lot of colors to imply what I want to say. I notice that I use greens, blue, and yellows a lot. Colors that you immediately think of foliage, water, and light.
I think the reason I’ve always been attracted to nature in my writing, is because it always felt so much bigger than me and endless. Watching Meerkat Manor, and penguins migrate across the frozen worlds I know nothing of felt more out of this world to me than fairy tales or whatever. I notice that I subconsciously revert back to these tendencies even if I don’t mean it. Of course, the way I weave in nature inspired metaphors and images are more meaningful and are way less literal than reports on tigers or the poems I created in third grade about the beach. It’s more like in my poems about recalling childhood, the imagery of the sky and the metaphors of mountains always somehow come back to emphasizing a moment, and how small yet significant I felt in them or about the humanity and morality that is present in all of us.
-Kiara Ivey, Layout and Design Editor