How this writer boldly uses her gift to find herself and encourages others to do the same.
Words are everywhere. Being flung about in their many mediums and then sticking to us for only our own individual reasons. The relationship between us and them, is a relentless search for growth and understanding. Specifically, understanding one another. The dialogue serves as a bridge of communication that boisterously imagines our unique differences, in turn leans into our purposes. Writers are the world’s skillful builders for this type of work. This week’s featured artist, Reonda Thompson, shares her tools of empowerment through her poetry.
Like other poets who are featured for The Wildflower Project, Reonda Thompson has helped shift my perspective of the specific genre. The Kansas City, Missouri native gives insights into the start of her passion for writing, her influences and the trajectory of career moving forward. This includes digging into some of her most recent pieces that have left impressions on many people, in addition to me.
When interviewing the poet, she stated that for 17 years, she has been committed to her craft. The encouragement and influence for her work came early in life from those closes to her, as she opens about her relationship with her parents. Her first poem penned with an inspiring vulnerability, discussing the feelings of witnessing her father’s drug addiction. “Starting off my poetry was dark, but it was true. Through depression and suicide attempts—writing saved my life”, Thompson says. I held fast to that last phrase as I reminisce on the countless times, I have outstretched my hands to pen and paper when trouble was near. There was a moving truth to that statement.
Although, Thompson’s initial push into poetry may have been bleak in the beginning, she found a lot of nurturing and wisdom from her mother who is a visual artist. She stated that reading was common in the household as her mother owns many books as well. Some key advice was given to her by her mother that can be felt by all artist in some way. “She always told me, ‘You’re not going to be happy unless you accept that you are an artist”, states Thompson. There is was, put into words how many artists felt (at least for me), trying to navigate through a work space that was not meant for them. This applied to Thompson as she originally thought her writing would lead her to a career in journalism. She soon found out that her interest in the field did not match her personality.
It was poetry that came to her again and again, moving her through life’s joys and challenges. “There’s no rules, it’s your view of the world”, was Thompson’s response when inquiring about why she chose poetry over other mediums. The importance of knowing and growing with that understanding can help us get a better context of the world we live in. A pivotal moment came through in her writings over the summer when she created a piece titled, “Dream Killers”. The poem was a response to a violent shooting that had stolen one of our youths from the community during this time. It documents the need for awareness for such injustices and an outcry for the hurt our city has endured.
Thompson admits that she lets the words come to her when creating personal pieces. This is seen not only in the former poem mentioned but also in other facets of her writing. The unmatched poet stretches her talent through her professional writing services, Elaborate Expressions. The business aids with creating and tailoring poetry for personalized messages. A few of the topics she has written include love poems, graduations, and words of affirmation for strong women. She has become unstoppable in her efforts to bring the gift of poetry to others.
In her latest piece shared with The Black Sunflower, titled “Love Like Ocean Waves”, she charges forward with message of love and renewal. I took note of how the words ‘waves’ and ‘love’ hold lines by themselves, as if their wide-reaching entities are too heavy to sit with the others. Love, like the ocean or any large body of water, holds unimaginable depth and secrets of its being. Both, also seeming to have healing properties in their own respective ways.
It makes me wonder about the planet being over 70 percent water and how much different our world could look if we operated the same through love, truly finding ways to outweigh or overcome the hatred that almost seems to spread too quickly. The diversity and honesty in Thompson’s writings continue to pour a necessary pureness into the world. She is a generous wordsmith and I am in anticipation of how she continues sharing her creativity.
Join us next sunday for our upcoming artist review: B. Michael Long