"You continue to blossom like a flower and song. I'm so proud of your accomplishments, your poetry is inspiring. It's your turn now"!!
These truly inspiring words were written to me by my friend and mentor, published poet, Frances Contreras. She exudes confidence, but is very humble and giving with others.
Her statements, stated so convincingly, such as "Valerie the Poet"!, and "You are a true poet!!", led me to begin affirming myself as a poet. Up until meeting Frances my friends would say "you can write" but no one had really called me a poet.
It is amazing what a mentor can do for one's psyche.
Frances and I met when I began to work at my church, and upon seeing a flyer advertising a poetry reading she was hosting, I became intrigued. When she came to the church office one day I found the courage to ask her about her being a published poet, we struck up a conversation and became friends.
We have a few things in common. We are both from NYC. We are both Hispanic. We are both Catholics. We both love the arts and we both write poetry.
Frances was a successful teacher and is a published poet. I call her accomplished and brave. Both of which I strive to be.
She is a bilingual poet. I think that is glorious to be able to use and inspire with words in two languages. She loves poetry about nature and one of her favorite authors is William Blake. She is a confident woman who knows what she likes. I aspire to be like her and not just in writing. She is poised, beautiful, confident and kind.
She recently wrote me, "Continue to write down all your thoughts. Eventually they will become poetry." I can only hope to write as well as her, but more importantly be as courageous and disciplined as she has been, and get my work completed and published.
If you have a dream and feel stuck, find a mentor. I was blessed to meet Frances when I least expected to but if you join a club or an organization you are likelier to meet someone who can encourage your passion.
Frances and I recently discussed what a wonderful feeling it is to find someone "who gets you" and that is what I found in her. She understands my love of the arts. I consider it icing on the cake that we became friends as well. I am beyond grateful for her presence in my life.
I am a poet,