While in Guatemala in April I started talking to a woman in a long ATM line up.
She had just left her job and was spending some time by a small town on lake Antigua.
We spoke about our lives, what we do, where we live.
When I told her that I write for elephant journal, she lit up saying she read the publication almost everyday.
She asked for a few titles of poems/articles and I recited a few.
When I told her that I wrote I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman, her eyes lit up and she began reciting a line from it.
“You wrote that?!”, she exclaimed. “I love that piece!”
She entered the booth to withdraw money and halfway through her transaction she opened the door and said, “I can’t believe you wrote that.”
I burst out in laughter.
As an online writer, I find I don’t connect as intimately as say a musician at a rock concert.
Knowing real eyes have touched my words, and meeting those eyes out in the world is so special to me.
It’s so beautiful for me to see that poems aren’t about views or shares.
I try and connect tangibly with readers.
A year ago I was feeling so grateful and supported that a “thank you” message didn’t cut it.
I wrote poems on postcards and sent about thirty to readers all over the world.
I loved seeing the postcards wind up in hands in London and Delhi.
This spring I was inspired by the stimulation of New York City and decided to throw together a last-minute project.
A year ago I published a poem called This is For the Women Who Don’t Give a F*ck.
It garnered an incredible response, with 1.6 millions views.
I wanted to try a different medium—video.
This poem wasn’t written about one woman—it was written about many.
I wanted it spoken by the women of New York.
I made a call on social media and had an overwhelming international response.
The willingness of people I’d never met gave this project the green light to move forward with the project.
During the initial screening of the women who wanted to be involved, I asked them how they found the poem and what it meant to them.
I turned on the Skype screen on my first call with a woman who trains K9 dogs and I was brought to tears by our call and her take away.
Giving this poem a living, breathing voice, and having it spoken by so many incredible women has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had as an artist.
“Earth without art, is ‘eh.” ~ Someone wise
Thank you to the all of the women who showed up to make art with me.
Let’s make more.
More from Janne:
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: via the author