It has been quite busy lately and I realized that I had been ignoring my blog. Really, I write on here for myself but am always happy when others enjoy my thoughts.
Here in Canada, we are just starting our National Poetry Month. I adore poetry and first started writing it when I was in first grade. A family friend (shout out to you, Sue!) was a teacher and I remember her teaching me the poem, Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee. About a year or so later, my second grade teacher (Miss Skerl, you were always my favourite) introduced me to Shel Silverstein and the rest is history.
So, what is it about poetry that struck a chord in me? I think it was the cadence, the rhythm of it all. I loved big, juicy words and the challenge of finding a rhyme. As I grew, I began to see how words could paint a picture and eventually saw how evocative poems could be. In early high school, my brother shared his copy of Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen with me. I was blown away by the rawness and power of his words. It truly changed the way I saw myself as an artist and creator, I was just too shy to show it.
Despite my deep love of poetry, I had a problem. I was afraid to share it. Looking back I think I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. Honestly, I think it had more to do with vulnerability. What could be more raw than a teenage girl pouring out her soul onto paper?
Finally, when I did get the courage to share, the person I shared it with lost it. This was before everything was digital and all of my hard work was gone. So, if you ever read this, Brian, know that I forgive you. Even if you did steal it. What I should say is thank you, Brian. You taught me the value of keeping copies. Also, you spared me the embarrassment of thinking that my work should be published somewhere (at that time). It was probably pretty shitty anyway.
So, older and wiser, I went off to university where I took courses about poetry, music and art. I still wrote poems but kept them to myself. I sent out one which was published in some anthology. I never purchased the book. I think they would have published anything in the hopes of getting me to buy their leather-bound anthology. Joke’s on them, I suppose.
I am really getting off course . . .
So, it is 2020 and for some reason I am feeling inspired. CBC had just put out a call for their poetry prize. By that time in life I was married, had 4 kids, had 2 degrees, a diploma, two black belts, and had competed in dance competitions. I had even screwed up the guts to play a piece at a piano recital. Although, if my family ever hears me play Hey Jude again, I think I am in for it!
My point being, I had matured and grown as a person and had learned to do what makes me happy. I was speaking with my son about not being afraid to try stuff when I realized I was being a chicken when it came to poetry.
I ended up submitting some poems and after I did it I felt good. I didn’t even care if I won. That really pushed me to start writing more and to try out some short fiction. After I started getting my fiction published I became braver but still hesitant with the poems. When I started to reflect on it, I could see it was because it was so personal. I felt vulnerable and exposed in my poetry.
But isn’t that what poetry is about? The art of words, creating emotion through imagery?
I have submitted quite a bit of poetry recently and was ecstatic to have some picked up by Linda D. Addison through Space and Time Magazine.
That is enough validation for me to know that I am a poet. There is an audience for the pictures I want to paint and I plan to keep painting them.