Christmas is drawing to a close and my attention is fast changing to focus on the new year and resolutions. As 2013 draws to a close, I am reflecting upon my goals and what I want my 2014 path to look like. I wrote about my feelings of uncertainty and direction over here and I have spent a lot of my December taking time to think about me. Although my plans are not yet set in stone, I know that I am inspired to be more constructively creative and active in my life. As soon as I plan it out more, I will be sharing.
In the meantime, I’ve been developing an awesome friendship with Pages Matam, who spoke here earlier this month. We’ve been talking about creativity, purpose and direction, all the things I’ve been struggling with lately. He kindly offered to share some of his tips on how to start being creative and focused.
When did you become interested in poetry and teaching?
I first was interested in poetry in middle school. I fell in love with teaching may be about two years ago working for Split This Rock building the LTAB-DMV Youth teaching and empowerment program. Seeing the way these kids were impacted by not just my work with them, but how they found their voices and used them to grow not just as writers/artist but people it is so beautiful. Those kids inspire me to do and be better.
When did you realise that your work was making a difference?
After the first time a young boy came up to me after I did a poem about a friend of mine
committing suicide, saying that he wants to do and be better with his life and being a good
kid to his mother. The kid must’ve been no older than 10 years old. A few moments after,
the boy’s mother came up to me and confessed on how she was ready to give up on life
and call everything quits, and how her poem inspired her to keep pushing and going forward.
At that time, i was may be 16/17. But something clicked in me, on how art can be a source
of healing and inspiration, and that words hold such power and can make a huge difference.
What does your son think of your poetry and work?
He is only 6 years old, he thinks it’s fun…he is not really into poetry though, he just likes being able to stay out late and be at venues with lights and he gets to eat all the food and hear adults say crazy things.
Tell me a little bit about why art heals and words have power.
Art heals because there is something about Art that allows to manifest healing. It allows you to use your imagination to express whatever darkness you may be going thru, but also it gives what a lot of people tend to lack in that time of darkness – power and control: whether it is over their own bodies, their minds, their feelings, the outcome of a situation. With your imagination you can create any outcome that you so desire. And that in itself is powerful and can provide such a great step in healing. With that said, words are extremely powerful. There is energy in the things that we say and how we act upon them. knowing how to navigate the world with that energy, how they can empower or hurt people, how they can give or take away, is extremely important.
6 Tips for Increased Creativity and Staying on a Creative Path
- Just write. No matter what it is. Whether a single word or a thousand paragraphs, write. Allow the words to spring forth on their own, don’t force them.
- Read. Watch and listen to other work too, but also read. I could not be where I am without having read/watched/seen such a diverse array of work from writers/artists from all around the world and from all walks of life.
- Find a trusted person/mentor and loved ones that you can share not only your work but yourself with. It’s important to have people you trust in your life.
- Be authentic and genuine. Your work will reflect it.
- Be open minded and receptive of change, especially in competitive slam. Bad scores don’t mean your work is bad, but it doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else either. They’re just a reflection of other people’s opinion.
- Remember always why you do what you do. The purpose in your work and keeping a clear sigh of it. Be fierce and unrelenting in that notion. Don’t let anyone take that away from you, no one.
What do you do to stay creative, inspired and confident?
Pages Matam is a multidimensional national touring artist, residing in the D.C. metropolitan area, but originally from Cameroon, Africa. He is a Write Bloody author, playwright, and award winning slam poet (2time DC Grand Slam Champion, 2013 Southern Fried Champion) with passions in the field of youth, activism, and education. Along with his greatest accomplishment, being a father, he is also a proud gummy bear elitist, bowtie enthusiast, professional hugger and anime fanatic. As he takes stage – as a poet, educator, or host – be prepared to be taken on an experience of cultural, socially conscious, and personal discovery unapologetic in its silly, yet visceral and beautifully honest in its storytelling.