The Great Jackie Smith (not unlike the gift giving pumpkin) did an awesome online hangout and wrote a post about it. She challenged other writers to share fun facts and how they got into writing. Since, I’m reclusive and seldom post more than poetry and the occasional joke, I thought it time to open up.
Admittedly, how poetry became my thing is kind of convoluted and not exactly clear. I wrote a lot of stories when I was young: for friends, myself, siblings, or anyone who would read them really. Poetry was more of my guilty pleasure growing up: something I did secretly and never shared. It’s hard letting people see what goes on inside your head and poetry might reflect that better than anything. I was a shy, insecure kid (though totally different now of course. I mean it. I’VE CHANGED, DANG IT!). I don’t think I really shared any of my poetry publicly until my high school English teacher noticed some of my fiction and started a writing club. Though I mostly did read my fiction for the group, I felt brave enough to try some poetry. And it wasn’t until college I got back into it.
My creative writing professor was really instrumental in that, as was his belief in students submitting to the college literary journal. My first try, I didn’t get in and felt devastated. Like I said, it’s hard to not take rejection personally, especially when poetry comes from somewhere deep inside of you. But I kept writing and tried again. And that’s all you really can do: you can’t fear failure or not being any good. Poetry is brave, even when we aren’t. I managed to get some poems into my college literary journal the next year and placed second in a contest. It was an amazing feeling as I’d never really won anything before.
I wish I could say it was all history from there but frankly I’m not that great and it continues to be a journey. There’s so much life left to live and life more than anything creates words. My greatest cure for poetic writers block has always been to be alive and let it inspire me.