Issue 30

Words Become Things

Continuing our partnership with Giorgio Armani, we have teamed up for a four-issue Commentary special. Working with leading contemporary writers to bring you incredible original work, we present here, for the third instalment, a new piece of writing from award-winning spoken word performer George the Poet. Specially commissioned for Port, the issue 30 cover star offers 10 reasons why everyone should write, celebrating how the act of articulation brings clarity, closure and coordination of intent, touching something deep within ourselves as well as those around us


I’ll be honest, I’m not that articulate – especially for a poet. I’m alright when I find my rhythm, but in real conversation I spend a lot of time struggling for the next word while my sentence hangs in the balance. It’s because I’m obsessed with getting everything right. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll know how much this obsession can slow a person down.

So, I’m going to share with you 10 reasons why you should just write what’s on your mind.


1. You Matter

Hopefully this is obvious, but you do matter. You affect the world every day, and even if you completely avoid everything around you, your thoughts and actions still have an impact on one very important person: you. Honestly, you couldn’t lose this power if you tried. By writing what’s on your mind, you acknowledge yourself in a safe and intimate way. No one even has to know. The process of writing can often remind us of school or work – something functional, with rules. Because of this it’s easy to second-guess yourself. Is that the right wording? Am I interesting enough? Do my thoughts make sense? The truth is you can’t go wrong. Just write.

2. Writing Brings Clarity

Have you ever tried to picture a moment that hasn’t arrived yet? Something you’ve anticipated for a long time. Do you remember when that moment finally came, and you could see it up close for what it was, not what you thought it would be? That’s the same closure I get when I write. Before my words touch the page, I can only hear them internally – often half-formed and uncertain. My mind flicks through images faster than I can put words together, and a lot of these images are maybes and what ifs, but when I write, they become real. Writing allows me to turn the pages of my thought process slowly, backwards and forwards. I can really see my thoughts, and I’m thankfully reminded that they’re just moments: snapshots of my life that are as big or as small as I want them to be.


3. Nothing Lasts Forever

It can be hard to appreciate how temporary everything is, especially when you feel stuck, or rooted in something. But in reality, life is a process of constant change. Waves of emotion rise and fall. Seasons run their course. Ideas come and go. As intelligent beings, we are blessed with awareness and communication. That means we can feel this temporary world and capture the sensations it takes us through. Some people paint, others make music. Personally, I write. That’s the only way I can do justice to this life – I’ll never be able to make it mine forever, so I express my infatuation by writing love letters to the world called poems. Imagine a book of existence, containing everything that has ever happened. We’re in that book, and anything we write is a direct quote. Your lines immortalise the moments you couldn’t capture; your writing is the closest thing to your momentary truth. 

4. You Know More Than You Know

There is knowledge in your body that your mind can’t explain. Think about it: You don’t make your heart beat; you can’t even make yourself sneeze. From the minute you were born you started breathing, despite never having done that before, and to this day you haven’t missed a breath – even when you’re sleeping. Your body carries intuition that you don’t have to think about… so how far does this go? What else is coded inside you that your conscious mind can’t reveal? By writing, you are embarking on that journey of discovery. You might think you know what’s on your mind, and how to get it across, but the process of writing will often reveal things that you couldn’t have foreseen. Just consider that your dreams are formed by your sleeping mind sorting through your memories – long term and short term – finding random connections. It’s amazing: A whole movie occurs in your head using only your experiences, without you trying. That’s how much potential you tap into every time you write.

5. Writing Is a Way of Trusting Yourself

You’ve got this. But every time you shun your own ideas, or put off the urge to express what’s on your mind, you deny yourself. Stop it. Give yourself permission to release. Personally, I need this reminder every now and then, because, as I mentioned earlier, I always want everything to be perfect. Sometimes I have an idea for months and I basically hide from it out of fear that I’ll get it wrong. My number one way of doing this is by distracting myself with other media; TV, books and music give me a window into someone else’s world, and I stay there for as long as I can, immersing myself in other people’s thoughts to avoid my own. I usually tell myself that I’m looking for inspiration, and to an extent that’s true, but there’s a time to listen and a time to speak; a time to watch and a time to act; a time to read and a time to write. Don’t be passive; make that time by trusting yourself.

6. Words Become Things

When you write, you create. Literally, you bring something into existence – something that wouldn’t be here if you didn’t deliver it. What’s even more amazing is that this process is just the beginning. Words on a page can be the start of a plan, a story, a bucket list, a mission statement, a script, a poem – anything. I’m not just talking about artistic writing; I also mean personal, even purpose-free writing. Your words can be as public or as private as you want, the point is they lay out the blueprint for action. They coordinate your intentions by directing your thoughts down a particular path. Before you know it, you’ll notice things within you and around you that align with your writing. It could be as simple as a change in behaviour following an insight you stumbled upon while penning a diary entry. Or it could be as elaborate as an imaginary world springing up around a character you thought up. I’ve seen all this and more in my own life, so I recommend the habit of writing, because you never know where it can take you.

7. It’s Good to Let Go

We all carry things that no one else can see. Sometimes we’re aware of these things, but often we’re not. The heaviest loads usually come from events, relationships or feelings that we’re struggling with. But there’s also the stuff that builds up over time, simply because we haven’t found the right outlet for it. Writing can help with it all. By expressing yourself on paper, you start the process of laying down your baggage. It might not bring instant relief – you might need more time and additional support – but it is a self-empowering way of letting go, slowly, at your own pace. Also, for the creative within you, writing can allow you to ‘let go’ of an idea. Keeping it bottled up inside isn’t good for you or the idea; you need headspace, and your idea needs to breathe. Release it into the world and see what happens.

8. You’re Human for a Reason

Right now, we are as alive as the trees, but we live nothing like them. It’s not just the trees, though; we share this time with all sorts of life forms. They each play their part in our ecosystem – we can’t pollinate flowers like bees, or regulate the fly population like spiders. But what we can do is envision things that don’t exist yet, and bring them to life through sheer creativity. This is how humanity has grown beyond the limits imposed on our ancestors by the natural world. If we as humans didn’t lean into that instinct – that urge to chase our own imagination – then we wouldn’t have survived this long. The horseshoe crab has been around for 445 million years, and in all that time its lifestyle hasn’t changed much. Yet in just 200,000 years, humanity has transformed its prospects so drastically that we are now the only thing standing in our way. How will you contribute to this journey? You didn’t end up as a tree or a horseshoe crab… you were born into the most creative species on the planet. Feel that power and do something good with it: Write.

9. It Will All Make Sense Later

The purpose of your writing isn’t always apparent, and that’s OK. Don’t feel any pressure to make it epic every time, just have fun with it. Eventually, when you revisit your words later down the line, you’ll see something that wasn’t clear to you before. It’s an inevitable consequence of time passing: We grow and discover new parts of ourselves that reveal things about our past – things that can only be seen from a distance. This happens to me regularly; I go through old notebooks and find the seeds of thoughts, ideas and character traits that went on to shape my life. On that note, here’s a tip: Always date your writing – it helps you keep track of your evolution.

10. You Never Know What Your Words Mean to Someone Else

Let’s say you don’t share a single thing you’ve written with anyone else for as long as you live. OK. But what about after? You won’t be here forever, and you’ll leave behind people that care about you. Sorry to get dark for a second, but this is one of my deepest motivations. When your loved ones can’t speak to you anymore, they’ll want anything that connects them to your memory. I strongly believe that your (preferably handwritten) thoughts are some of the greatest gifts you can leave behind. You might even reach a generation that you’ll never meet. Personally, every time I write, I think about my unborn audience. Future eyes that will pass over these words, maybe amidst a frustrating search for answers, or maybe just out of pure curiosity. At the same time, there’s also the chance that you’ll join me on my journey. You could decide to share your writing with the world while you’re still here. This can be a beautiful thing, but the magnitude of it may not hit you until your words reach a stranger. People often ask me what my greatest achievement is, and honestly, it’s the constant connection I feel with those who reach out to tell me that my words have improved their lives. That’s my highest contribution to the world, and I wish that feeling of completion on everyone.

George the Poet wears Giorgio Armani SS22 throughout

Photography Jessica Madavo 

Styling Carolina Augustin

Grooming Tyler Johnston at One Represents using Harry’s and Babyliss Pro

Assistants Ed Philips, Adam Lin and Sakura Belkin

Production The Production Factory

Special thanks to Sarah Dawes

This article is taken from Port issue 30. To continue reading, buy the issue or subscribe here