Last night I finished a terrific book, "The Poet of Baghdad" by Jo Tachell. It is a gripping, painful, true story of an Iraqi poet named Nabeel Yasin, and his family. Yasin is still living as an ex-pat in England, where he escaped after years of persecution, beatings and threats to his family, right around the time that Saddam Hussein was coming to power.
Politically and socially it was hugely enlightening to me. But on an entirely separate plain was the depiction of Nabeel Yasin the writer, the poet. There was this paragraph that described his attitude towards his writing when he was in his forties. It really reached me
“True, the poem had come from him and his experience, but it no longer belongs to him. Now it is up to anyone who reads it to find their own relationship with the words. As a younger man Nabeel had been desperate for others to think as he thought. He wanted them to understand his work in precisely the way he intended it to be understood. Now it was almost the reverse: what mattered was that people responded to his writing by creating their own meanings, imagery, and feelings.”
What a wonderful depiction of the growth of a writer, and the desires and motivations behind the inspiration to write. I share his aspirations as a writer, and perhaps have experienced a similar evolution as I grow older.