It's been ten days since my last post, the one where I told you I was going to write one poem a week, for an entire year, and guess what? I have yet to write a single line of poetry. Woops! I could blame the snow, and I do, but I also blame the fact that I have not written poetry in so long and I am having a hard time finding the on switch for that part of my brain. There are a few things I have remembered, like the fact that you don't just sit in front of the laptop and start typing in order to craft a poem. So I'm working on finding a spot where I can sit and think. A thinking spot, with pen and paper close by, that's quiet and uncluttered and you know, thoughtful. Anyway, I am not giving up, I am just a slow starter. Maybe in a few months I'll be able to crank out two a week and be able to get caught up on my goal. Maybe I'll find that it takes me two months to come up with one decent poem -- I hope not, but we'll see.
I also wanted to tell you that I may post old poems of mine from time to time, just to show that this is all in process for me. I also have a few friends who are really talented poets, I think, and if they agree, I would like to share a few of their works with you. To that end, I have started another blog where all the poems (and nothing but poems) will be posted. You can take a look at it here, after you read the rest of this post, or now if you're an impatient reader. The poem you'll see there is by my friend Jill who emailed me with a snow poem last night, because she's cool like that, and because she could tell I was frustrated with my lack of productivity, as well as all this snow!
I first started writing poems in junior high (isn't that when everyone does?) when I had to move away from a boy I thought I loved and hoped to one day marry. I hope no one ever sees those poems. Back then I thought they were pretty good though, and the teachers I wrote assigned poetry for told me what a good writer I was. Then I went off to college, and I shared my poetry printouts with my freshman English professor, a man named Johnny Wink. He kindly advised me to put a little more craft into my craft. I kindly felt like a big dork but ended up signing up for his poetry class the next year. It was there, constantly exposed to wonderfully good poetry, some in books and many written by my fellow classmates, that I began to understand exactly how I came up short, but I got so scared of failing that I rarely tried to write anything better. I wrote the required number of assignments and somehow passed the class but decided that perhaps I was better suited for another kind of writing.
Yet in my heart I still believe one can have the heart of a poet without actually being one who writes rhyming stanzas; and I contend that a poet is exactly who I've been these past thirteen years. My verse may not rhyme or evoke startling imagery as it is most often shared in short essay form, but my soul has been in love with words since I first got to know them, back in junior high. And that's all you really need to be a poet, some sort of longing love affair. Pay attention to the longing, and the rest will sort itself out in time. I'm just glad that when I had to move away, the words still got to come with me.