Poetry is my preferred mode of writing. What’s the draw? I can say a lot without having to say it all, which appeals to my desire to keep some things private. It also gives me a way to bleed my heart all over the place without getting overly sentimental or sappy, which is what happens when I try to explain feelings rather than interpret them into poems as they form from me… weird broken lines, combinations of sounds, rhythm (or not), and images. Also, poems just tumble out of me. Sometimes I can’t get to a pen or keyboard fast enough to catch the translation, and then it’s just gone.
At some point, I got embarrassed about writing poetry and I stopped. This was probably sometime between 2004 and 2007, when I lived in Nashville and became enmeshed in Churchland. Scratching out twisty little tortured poems wasn’t what all the nice little church girls were doing while they waited for their husbands to come along. I did always want to fit in so badly.
As soon as I say that I’m a writer, people want to know what I’m working on. I never figured out how to get comfortable in my identity as a poet. I don’t have the patience, drive, or attention span to write a novel for now. So I became a blogger instead. I blogged my little heart out and to me, this was good. This was writing.
But eventually, I even stopped that. How much can you really say about yourself when you’re not being yourself?
Lately I have been trying to wake up my lazy artist inside. I know she’s in there. But I’ve been clamoring around, banging pots and pans and slamming the doors and forgetting to turn off the alarm… hoping she would just wake up and realize that we are getting close to forty years old and there is art to make, work to be done. Damn it girl, there are words to write.
It came to my attention that beating the artist up with guilt trips and loud noises might not be the best way. So I decided to start over. I started listening to my vinyls again. I cleaned the area where I intended to work, made it more visually appealing and soothing. I burned candles and relaxed there. I started reading books, actual books with scritchy paper pages, not just devouring them on my kindle like I usually do.
And that was where my first poem in years was born. I was reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids and I got overwhelmed with emotion a couple of times. The first time, I stopped reading and didn’t touch the book for a week. The second time, I stopped reading and sat with my sadness. I let myself cry for something I couldn’t identify, while Elvis sang “Love Me Tender” from the turntable. Two hours later, I pulled out my laptop and puked out a poem.
And I love it.
I missed this. Missed me.