Writer’s Tool: Creed

Posted on October 7, 2013

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No. I’m not talking about the alternative rock band nor the fragrance.  I’m talking about a statement of faith or a statement of purpose. Something to remind you when you are off based with your writing.  The idea of a writer creating and having a creed was introduced that last year in undergrad.  I was back in a creative writing class with poet Tony Medina; can’t you tell I REALLY enjoyed and truly miss having him as a professor at Howard University?!?!?!?!?! Actually, he invited a special guest into our class, poet Marvin X.  Marvin X and Medina (as we say) go way back to when they were thick in the Black arts movement. Both are part of a collective that are pioneers in the movement.  That particular day Marvin X read from his chapbook and preached to us about the sacredness and the art of writing. The class was small and probably only a few (literally like three) were listening; including myself. That was an interesting bunch as Medina had to light their asses (not mine, I was already there to work) on fire.  I have to say, sometime after mid-terms, those of us that soldiered on we seemed to hit a creative groove. I digress.
On his visit, Marvin X dropped the precious jewel of having a writer’s creed and why every writer should have one. It really does remind you of why you are writing in the first place. I don’t remember everyone’s reaction as Marvin X discussed this. I do remember a few questions and moans and confused looks as Medina asked us… or rather told us… to write a creed for our assignment.  I have to admit, it was a challenge because I had to dig down deeper to figure out what do I write. Why can’t I let it go?  It hadn’t been that long when I read the Jay-Z interview in O Magazine. There is a quote from that article that I love to this day.
“There’s the gift, there’s the spirit & there’s the work – all three have to come together. If one of those things is off, it can stop you from becoming who you were meant to be.” – Jay-Z Oct. 2009 of O Magazine. 
That quote inspired my writer’s creed. Here’s what I came up with.
The Gift:
For it was bestowed upon me to carry a tradition. It’s by divine touch to have such a legacy flow through the blood line; from grandparents to grandchildren. This inheritance is rich with vivid imagery, a plush vocabulary and a background harmony singing lullabies helping to see and feel. For the mission is bigger than me and beyond my understanding. For the words entertain, heal, soothe, inspire, liberate, anger, teach, help and captivate.  The art of writing is one of power. I shall not take this lightly journalistically or creatively.
The Spirit:
The spirits of pure and evil are there. Yet it’s the pure that I seek and long to keep. For evil uses my voice, the gift, as a weapon sharper than any known to man. For I pray and pledge not to be led astray, to find friend or foe slain or arrested by my hidden weapon. May nothing but positive influence and true conviction bleed ink.
The Work:
It is understood that nothing is handed to me freely and without consequence. For I have received this gift and must make use of idle hands and idle time. For it takes more than just having the gift and letting the passion fester. Passion must be allowed to be the driver. For once it is allowed to drive falling in love with the craft and the tools are comprehensive. The work will deliver unto itself when passion is allowed to live aloud and able to drive.
I challenge you to write your writer’s creed. What will be your statement of faith and purpose to remind you when you feel off kilter?