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Finding Your Identity Through Writing

Heidi L. Klotzman | Photo Provided

Growing up around the music business, music was a constant. When you stripped the sounds away, you were left with the words. Lyrics drew me in.

I loved theater as a child and anything expressive. My parents were very supportive and enrolled me in various singing, acting and dance activities. I started writing short poems in lower school at Roland Park Country School. I expanded on them in middle school and was consumed by writing as a teen.

In high school, I was exposed to poets such as Saul Williams, Carl Hancock Rux and Paul Beatty. Their storytelling, imagery, passion and rhythmic flows captivated me. I didn’t just want to write poetry. I wanted to perform it.

“Reflections of a Decade: My Facebook Wisdom & Humor” by Heidi L. Klotzman

I started to perform my work at school events and spaces such as Minas Gallery. My bold references were a bridge too far for a few teachers, but that emboldened me. It was performance art meant to shock and awaken, but it was beyond poetry. Writing took on many forms. It started as a calling to connect my internal world to others in the external world through poetry.

I followed that by writing school paper essays, delivering them to the faculty and student body on topics such as school cliques divided by race, how modern education was failing students and a personal eulogy for Tupac Shakur.

Looking back, I realize that—like many other writers, entrepreneurs, inventors and artists—one of the factors that drove my prolific creativity was having bipolar disorder. (Manage it, but don’t run from it. It’s well beyond time to be OK with all of who we are.)

The inspiration to write would come like it was pouring out, and I was a channel through which it poured. All of my angst, anxiety and curiosity fueled hundreds of poems.

An early feeling of alienation and a need for an outlet made me a writer, but I finally felt that I embraced it when I graduated from Roland Park. The head of school at the time, Jean Brune, asked me to recite a poem at graduation and introduced me as “The Poetic Soul of the School.”

I performed my poems in New York at public venues when I attended Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School before I transferred and graduated from Goucher College.

After graduation, I continued writing poems in my personal time and freelance pieces, personal blogs, entries for Mobtown Music Guide, articles for the event publication Wedding411 and Facebook statuses.

My marketing, events and talent agency—HeidnSeek Entertainment—had become my focus in my mid-20s. After years of publishing taking a back seat to my career, I self-published my first collection of poetry, Circadian Rhythm, in late 2019.

In 2020, I published Reflections of a Decade: My Facebook Wisdom & Humor. I noticed that as many of us had come to publicly express our thoughts, feelings, questions and beliefs on our Facebook walls, my poems had morphed into Facebook statuses. I combed through a decade of them and pulled the funniest and most meaningful statements. I liken it to a book of quotes that anyone can enjoy.

I’m focused on my third book now which reveals the life, achievements and struggles of the most fascinating character I’ve known, my dad. After that, I have the makings of an early memoir.

Compiling and sharing these works have been lifelong goals that I ached to accomplish and don’t feel complete without. It’s heartwarming when someone supports you by buying a book—and I, of course, love feedback—but honestly, releasing them alone is the reward.

I love provoking thought and sharing meaningful stories that can inform, enlighten and entertain others. All of our stories are remarkable and have the potential to help and inspire other people to march to their own drums, avoid the mistakes we’ve made and feel less alone.

Writing down what’s in your head and your heart is a way of finding identity. It’s a way to feel special yet to belong. It’s a way to be remembered after we’re physically gone. That’s what life boils down to: to know we have existed and mattered.

Heidi L. Klotzman is the CEO of HeidnSeek Entertainment. Look for Klotzman’s books on Amazon.com.

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