1. I'd fallen out of love with writing. It had become another pressure, instead of a happy wandering. I've been wrangling with the same novel for three years, and I thought it had beaten me. I didn't even care that it had beaten me, particularly, but I did care that I didn't seem to care.
Poetry is the purest form of writing for me. If it couldn't pull me back, then maybe I wasn't really a writer anymore.
2. I use my slowness as an excuse not to write. Writing can feel like digging to me. Or rather, the process of editing and revision feels that way, which often segues into paralysis. I usually tackle writing--even poetry--from the left side of my brain because it feels safer. I fall too much in love with an idea, a construction. I don't trust my instincts. I make things complicated because I'm drawn to metaphor and puzzles (not to mention second-guessing myself), forgetting that simplicity is the poet's most sincere and transparent friend.
Being forced to pen and reshape a poem every day seemed like a good way of combatting this tendency to fuss things up, if for no other reason than I wouldn't have the time to be as clever as I might wish.
3. Winter. This is my worst time of year for being withdrawn and contemplative. Anyone can write a poem a day in the springtime; they practically float from the trees. To push them out during the darkest stretch of winter seemed especially challenging, but also like a good way of channeling some of that introspection and making me appreciate that bleakness can still be beautiful, especially with so much love and good fortune at my side.
4. Photos. I am no great photographer, but I had a collection of photos I hadn't used on the blog before (in addition to some that I had) that I had forgotten all about. I really enjoyed taking my camera out when I was blogging more often, and I wanted to reclaim that habit by pairing each new poem with a new or old photo.
So those were my reasons. (Actually, in no way did I reason this all out before impulsively making the decision to do it. But we can all pretend.)
And how did the experiment go?
1. I did fall in love with writing again. I also hated it again. I'm pretty sure this is normal. I'm pretty sure I've always felt this way, no matter my tendency to romanticize the past.
Writing a poem a day is no great feat. A lot of people do this without any fanfare. But for me, it was hard. Yet maybe not as hard as I expected? I tried not to place ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself. There were only a handful of days in which I struggled to come up with an idea or finish by a particular time. Overall, I surprised myself. Which is always good.
2. I did not overcome my tendency to complicate things, nor did I always present my ideas in a clear, transparent light. The rough drafts came easy. But I'm still doing a lot of tinkering. The time constraint led me to post a lot of poems I wasn't particularly happy with. I tried to pretend I didn't mind. Then I tinkered some more the next day.
I still struggle with expressing myself without embarrassment or regret.
Room to grow, for sure.
3. Winter is my bitch now.
Okay, but seriously: some of these poems could use more
4. My camera is feeling well-loved again. Mission accomplished.
(Random spider pic)
I suppose I should make a good charge at finishing that novel now. I'm not sure what's causing the delay. I was sort of hoping this poetry diversion would offer some enlightenment on the subject.
I think it's the distance between my vision and the execution. I want it to be perfect, and it's not. The pursuit of perfection is not only the enemy of the good, but sometimes, the authentic. I can't stand my own contrivances, yet what is a novel but an author's contrived manipulations of character and plot? What is revision but the endless second-guessing of your gut instincts, the very thing I'm trying to be more accepting of in myself? I get tangled up in such silliness.
But that's likely another blog post.
Thank you for reading any part of this month's output. I really do appreciate your kindness and support.