The Real Me
by Carol Poole
I’ve never told anyone my real name. No one knows the real me. I’m Mary or Martha, maybe Salome or JoAnna. My last name doesn’t matter. Who I am or what I do may seem so insignificant, but it’s who I am and what I do that’s more important. It means I get to interact with so many people on so many planes. I may be a nurse, even a hairstylist, maybe a waitress in a little run-down bar and grill.
Perhaps I’m a jewelry maker, filling my shelves with rings, earrings, bracelets, bangles and such. This is something I am passionate about. It’s not about making money for my own benefit. I do it for the joy it gives me. I will never charge for something that gives me great pleasure. I do it to share that joy with others. I have a designer handbag which I carry everywhere. I’m not vain, I just put on airs once in a while. Sometimes I pretend I am a princess wearing stylish clothes with my oh-so-fancy designer handbag. With a tiara placed precariously on my head, this princess wanna-be walks through life sure of who I am. In this strange, topsy-turvy world, it’s all about the diversity of life. We are the same, yet different. I’m a free-flowing spirit, not seeking recognition, only wanting others to see they too can be free to be who they are, not what others want them to be. This is who I am. This is the real me.
© 2016 Carol Poole & Write Around Portland, from our 50th anthology, Draw the Outside
Interview with Featured Writer Carol Poole
Interviewed by Paulos Sebhatu, Write Around Portland intern.
Carol Poole, 72, was born in Bonners Ferry, Idaho and moved to Oregon when she was about seven. Carol has participated in Write Around Portland workshops at Rose Community Development, an affordable housing community, and was most recently published in our spring 2016 anthology, Draw the Outside. This year Carol has joined our Seasoned Writers group—a monthly connection to writing and community where participants take turns bringing in and sharing prompts with one another. When Carol’s not writing, she loves to work on jigsaw puzzles, read and spend time with friends and family.
How did you get engaged with Write Around Portland?
Through one of the workshops out there in SE Portland.
Which one specifically?
Rose Community [Development].
How did you hear about it?
Well the guy comes around that’s involved—his name is Luke—and he came around bringing a little flyer, and I’ve always been interested in writing, it’s been my passion, and I said, “Imma go for it.”
Can you tell me more about your interest in writing?
I’ve always been interested in poetry. But I wanted to broaden my horizons and try writing, which I did when I first went to one of the workshops and they started out with ten-minute writing on any subject. And just, I write from the heart. That just cued my interest even more.
Growing up were there any authors that motivated you to write?
Yeah, one of my favorite authors was Walt Whitman. Another one was a Christian author and her name was Amy Carmichael and she wrote a lot of poems and that really struck a chord with me.
What is your experience like in the Write Around Portland workshops now?
I’ve been to two workshops and I’ve been involved with them now for over two years. Now I’m in with Seasoned Writers.
What is it like in Seasoned Writers?
We come in once a month, or ever so often, like every six weeks, and we just have writing sessions and we don’t have a certain facilitator—the ones that have been experienced writers. We all meet together and just have different writes that we do.
Do you like it so far?
I love it. I’m very passionate because I do a lot of writing my thoughts down in journals, and so I’m doing a lot of that, so this [Write] Around workshop really enhances that. It gives some ideas and pointers, and I like listening to the other people’s writings, and then that just really is a passion for me.
Were you ever scared of reading out loud?
At first I was nervous more than I was scared because I was always been afraid nobody is gonna like what I write, but it’s been so good because everything is positive, and so I like that.
You’re not scared anymore?
No, in fact, the two times that I went to the workshops and stood up to read my writings out loud, it got easier each time.
So you have more confidence now?
Yes, yes, more confidence.
What specifically do you get out of the workshop?
More confidence in my writing and my writing has become deeper. More depth to it and now instead of just writing, picking things out, I’m writing from my heart.
Was it never like that before?
It was more light, kind of like writing to write, and now I’m writing to be heard.
What did you write before Write Around Portland?
A lot of poetry. Other than that no. But I wanted to do something else with my writing—I wanted my writing to encourage others. And that’s what I wanted with my writing—to help others.
What’s your favorite part of the workshop?
Just writing. Getting to write and sharing that writing with others.
What keeps you coming back?
Being with people of diverse cultures. I am a people person. I like people. Just writing and listening to other ideas and getting those ideas down on paper, taking those thoughts home and chewing on them and meditating on them.
What keeps you writing?
It’s my passion and I love to write. I’ve been writing since high school and the words would flow so easily for me. That’s what kept me going inside. My mind is so active all the time that I have to write my thoughts down.
Do you want to say anything else about Seasoned Writers?
I enjoyed the Seasoned Writers because we are kinda in the same place in our writings, and I just love to listen to their stories and they say the same thing about mine. Not only our writing, but we got to know each other.
Do you want to say anything else?
Writing has become such a passion for me that I just want to run with it and see where it leads me. It’s like a new adventure for me, and you’re never too old learn something new.
Write Around Portland publishes and sells anthologies of participant writing at the end of each season of our free workshops in partnership with community organizations. These professionally-produced books provide participants – many for the first time – the opportunity and satisfaction to see their words in print, while providing the public the opportunity to read powerful stories and diverse voices.
Books are available for purchase for $12 at local bookstores and through our office (plus postage and handling, if mailed). Some anthologies may be found at Multnomah County Library branches. Call us at 503.796.9224 for more details.