I am quite a fan of Anne Sexton’s work. Among others, I consider her one of my poetry mothers. She is someone whose words I surround myself with whenever I sit down to assemble my own.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I still didn’t have a concrete reason for going to Senegal rather than New York City where I had planned on going my whole life. I looked to her, as I find myself doing too often, and found my reason.

“I am a collection of dismantled almosts.”
― Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters

When asked, “why are you doing this?” I often give the answer of, “I’m a writer, we’ll do anything for a good story.” While that answer is still true, I believe this is a better one: I am a writer, I will do anything to become a good story. What better way to do that, than to go out there and find people who have done just that, who have made quite a story of themselves? I am going to Senegal to listen. I am going because, unlike Anne, I do not want to be a collection of dismantled almosts. I want to be an assembly of always; I want to be a constant yes, a collection of stamps, an album full of strangers. The only almost I want to write down is this one: I almost didn’t do it, but then, I did.

“The future is a fog that is still hanging out over the sea, a boat that floats home or does not.”
― Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters

See, I’m going to have to agree with Anne on this one. I am a boat, my future is a fog, but what I see clearly from where I’m docked, it is that the journey to get here was beautiful. The places I’ve been until now have all changed me. To all the people who built me and are worried for me on this voyage: trust your handiwork. You have built me strong enough to sail through a hurricane. And whether I float home or not, does not matter, because I am floating away now. For the first time, I get to steer, and that is all I have ever wanted.