Guest Blogger Laura Lee Sweet: Life Is Vulnerability

Guest Blogger Laura Lee Sweet: Life Is Vulnerability

This week is a bittersweet one for me here at the website because it marks the end of a really beautiful ten weeks of words from some of my writer friends as Summer Blog Takeover comes to a close. When I asked Laura Lee Sweet to be one of my guests and specifically talk on the nature of vulnerability in words, I had no idea how perfect a punctuation to this summer blog series her entry would be.

All of these writers I have shared with you may write in different styles, formats and genres, but they all share one thing in common: they are all putting their words out there for others to digest, scrutinize, believe or not believe, and that makes every writer vulnerable. And the poet may be the most vulnerable of them all. I truly believe that no one except maybe the memoir writer pours the same levels of blood, sweet and tears into their work.  They have a bravery that most writers aspire to but whereas we novelists can channel our bravery through the voices of our characters, the poet stands out there alone, stark naked before the world, and that isn’t always the most welcoming place.

When I read Laura Lee’s Spilled Heart, a fascinating collection of poems which became her first book, I was struck by its raw emotion. I asked the writer to blog about the art of pouring vulnerability out of the pen and on to the page and I thank her for agreeing to share her thoughts. And don’t forget to scroll after the blog for where else you can connect with the writer. ~ Chris


Life Is Vulnerability by Laura Lee Sweet


“Hello, my name is Laura and I am a recovering hermit.”


This was my 12-step-esque introduction when I participated in a storytelling event in my city a few weeks ago. It is a very true struggle so when Chris asked me to talk about vulnerability I felt, well, vulnerable. In fact, this is not the first version of this post.


I never think of my writing as revealing any vulnerability. It is just an effort to say as many true things as I can. Maybe that is the true nature of vulnerability. We say or paint or create things that are real to our hearts and release them into the world. I have not always been so cavalier about this. In fact, I spent a long time hiding and being what other people expected me to be.


The year before my book was even a dream I created my own year-long Facebook event called “The True Self Tour.” I tried to post one true thing on Facebook every day. The response was revealing and surprising. Those I expected to judge me most harshly embraced my revelations. Some I expected to understand  did  not understand at all.


The events of the year made it clear to me that none of us can be responsible for the reaction people have to our thoughts and expressions of creativity. This was a huge emotional shift for me. All of the poetry and art I had been storing in notebooks and boxes and under my bed took on a whole new meaning. I was still afraid in some ways but not enough to hide everything from the censure of others.


The poetry that eventually became my book was mostly new work written from this place of freedom. It expressed my desires and struggles to love and be loved. It was a way of working out some of my thoughts in a public venue. Once you see something written on paper or on a computer screen you suddenly see it for what it is. There is no more fooling yourself about what you feel. I poured out myself in ink on paper with little emotional editing. The friends who read it before I sent it to my publisher helped with some technical aspects but no one tried to tell me I should not reveal my heart so openly.


I realize that this post is much shorter than I intended it to be but I want to share one more lesson I have learned about the willingness to be vulnerable.


If we are truthful as artists, we give others permission to be truthful and, in turn, vulnerable. We need to take that responsibility seriously and support other people in their struggle. We can ask valid questions but humiliating another person for saying something we find offensive has no value in the scheme of things.


Now I tell you…be bold; be truthful; be vulnerable; be the poem.



Some days I am the poet
drawing pictures of moments with words
poured out like spoonfuls of falling light.
The written phrases
or may not,
be diluted by those that follow.
My terrified heart
often tries to press
darkness into the light,
to repaint the revelations
and disguise them.

Some days I am the poem,
flowing out of a spring
of crass beauty.
In this stream
I am revealed,
stripped naked.
It flows quickly
out of my control
and can never, ever
be tainted by what comes after.

Laura Lee Sweet, Spilled Heart (c) 2013




LauraLeeSweet_lrLaura Lee Sweet is a southern poet and artist who, as she describes herself, “has spent most of her life being what other people expected her to be.” Her public writing over the years has spanned training and educational publications, the occasional newspaper article, and press releases. Nearly two years ago, she stopped hiding her poetry in journals and boxes of three by five cards and released her poetry compilation Spilled Heart. She says two wonderful grown-up children have taught her many lessons about life. Through her poignant words and art, she has taught us, too. Connect with Laura Lee on Facebook and on Twitter @Lauree_LauraLee. Plus, you can read a sample or order her book Spilled Heart on Amazon.


1 Comment

  1. Laura Lee is sweet, that’s for sure, and one of my favorites. I really appreciate her post here. I appreciate her creativity and her great spirit and for being so supportive of other creative types like myself. I love that idea about “being the poem” (and although I’m not sure I can be the poem, I’m CERTAIN I can at least be the limerick.) 🙂 Seriously, I think the world of LLS and I really enjoyed her poem and this post.

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