this is what happens…

  • By rumi ryan
  • April 29, 2024

A poetic rumination.

this is what happens…

this is what happens when light grows in the dark, boxes don’t fit, pain transforms + dreams have conversations with imagination. full disclosure, i tried; for years, to fit within the confines of societal standards, religion, and anything else you can think of. it has never worked for me. even now, i’m certain that many of you reading this are challenged by my approach to type face; the lowercase typography and plus signs are driving your grammatical brain up a wall. take a deep breath. it’s intentional. plus, my mom’s an english teacher, so i assure you i’m fully aware of how unorthodox this is but indulge me. i want our minds to open together.

this is what connection feels like. acceptance; observation without judgment. i first connected with zora + langston. einstein too. his equation for energy read like the last line of a haiku; profound + simple. both words and symbols have always been a language for me. my language of choice in times when expression wasn’t safe. rumi began with a bright red, college-ruled, spiral notebook that stored everything i thought about what i saw. and… i saw a lot.

“still remembering things
i never wanted to see
like bugs crawling in the dark
…torturing the womb that carried me
she taught me god does crazy things
like nothing at all”*

*excerpt from “god, weed + ptsd” in thoughts + pieces

my thoughts have always occurred in pieces. snapshots of what i think is true or right. i wonder if any of us ever see the full picture? are our opinions + perspectives an assortment of glimpses we’ve gathered from rearing, culture, and programming? are our thoughts colored with conditioning? this is what discovery feels like; questions. big, bold questions that likely have no apparent answer, perhaps that’s intentional, too. my book, thoughts + pieces, is an invitation to discover together + i mean that literally. these pieces may appear to be solely related to me, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. i get it. technically, my name is listed on the cover, but hear me out. the process of writing is for me, but releasing is for us.

yes, us. as a dmv native, i’ve always sensed an energy here. one comprised of expansive varying pieces. gay/straight, christian/buddhist, black, white, asian and so many other sects of humanity occupy this space. this area has a rhythm, a beat that attracts diversity + pushes us beyond collaboration into connection. its invasive to write here. i knew choosing to write, thoughts + pieces, would crack me open; i wasn’t ready but i was prepared.

this what writing feels like; scary + timeless. it repeats. it finds you + grows with you. zora and langston migrated to james baldwin, eckhart tolle then to rumi and ryan. rumi is short for ruminating. that’s right i’m a thinker. one of those deeply introspective souls that loves to experiment. rumi thinks; ryan speaks. there are two personalities here. each scattered throughout my work. words always find me; seeking out connection like explorers hunting for treasure.

“writing tests
my desperation for release
to do what i feel
practice what is free
…writing is listening to me
putting cracks in my walls”*

*excerpt from “righting writing” in thoughts + pieces

confession: i thought these walls were necessary. i thought they would keep me safe. vulnerability is terrifying, but what is life if not terror + purpose all jumbled up together? after coming to terms with this experience, i decided to talk about it. out loud, in words, in different ways, and hope that somebody was out there listening. this is what adventure feels like. living in every moment, vulnerability included. we are here together, in our own way. these words, this very moment, this article itself connects us. this is what starting feels like; light growing in darkness, pain transforming, connection, discovery, thoughts, and pieces.

[Editor’s note: This piece is in support of the Inner Loop’s “Author’s Corner,” a monthly campaign that spotlights a DC-area writer and their recently published work from a small to medium-sized publisher. The Inner Loop connects talented local authors to lit lovers in the community through live readings, author interviews, featured book sales at Potter’s House, and through Eat.Drink.Read., a collaboration with restaurant partners Pie Shop, Shaw’s Tavern, and Reveler’s Hour to promote the author through special events and menu and takeout inserts.]

As creative lead at Black Author Brand, rumi ryan works with authors to develop polished literary work that captivates with imagery and creative storytelling. rumi’s unique approach to art combines several modalities including poetry, music, conversation, and visuals. thoughts + pieces, an interactive book of poetry, is her debut collection.

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