So I was all excited about signing up for a daily writing prompt, and I was super gung-ho to open the email this morning, and then I did, and the prompt is to write a poem, and I sort of sagged in my seat, instantly deflated. Of course the first freaking day would address my written word Achilles’ Heel, my nemesis, my personal hell. So, instead of writing a poem, which I cannot do, I will write about why I can’t write poetry. Or won’t, as I’m sure my rabid fans will remind me is the literal truth. Yes, I could write poetry, but it would be absolute drivel and I refuse to subject even myself to reading what would result.
I don’t understand poetry. I can never be certain that I am understanding it the way the author meant it, there’s no context from which I can glean motivation or intent. I don’t know why it is, but a metaphor that is structured in a paragraph, spoken by a character in a novel, makes perfect sense to me. That same metaphor, written into a stanza of a poem, may as well be in Sanskrit. Either the meaning seems too obvious, and so I’m certain I’m missing the deeper, more profound connection, or I quite honestly cannot understand the words the way the author has put them together. It’s a serious mental block, and one I’ve yet to even begin to dismantle.
I think the root of my problem is that I’ve primarily encountered poetry in a classroom setting, and there is no worse feeling for me than the humiliation of being wrong – or not being entirely right – in front of someone, even one person, let alone a professor and a cadre of fellow students. Poetry is so open to interpretation, so mutable, so… punishing of the perfectionist! I want to be able to comprehend the full meaning of what I’ve read without question, without fear that I am just not smart enough to pick up what the author is putting down. Intellectually, I know that poetry, more than prose, allows for our self – our personality, our current position in our world, our past – to shape how we interpret the piece. I understand that that’s part of the beauty of poetry, the fact that understanding does not only have one form. In my fearful little heart, though, I am terrified that my interpretation will be the only one in the world that is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
Maybe writing it wouldn’t be so scary, because I’d know what it meant. I guess I’ll have to think on that.
Moving on to the fun stuff!
Today’s lead: Salacious Magazine. This isn’t a new one, per se, but it’s at the front of my mind because I submitted a couple of pieces for consideration for their next issue. I haven’t told many people because I don’t want to have to share the news of my rejection if it comes to that, but it’s my first attempt at publication, so I’m not going to be completely devastated if it does. I just might cry a little bit, that’s all. :)
Today’s office prep step: I came up with a design idea for my new logo! That gets me one step closer to business cards, a header for this page, and all kinds of fun swag.
Today’s brainstorm: I’m fleshing out an article idea I had while working on a friend’s resume, and taking a tip from the AWAI “The Writer’s Life” newsletter.