Once I started writing poetry because I wanted to put the words together right. This was a few years ago (almost ten, in fact…time flies faster than we think it does, or we move slower than time), but I left off doing it and I shouldn’t have. I showed a few of my poems to someone I trusted, and the response was underwhelming, let’s just say, not what I expected or perhaps wanted, and so I stopped. It’s not her fault — that’s just the way she is, and she couldn’t possibly have guessed what I felt was the right response in that situation. I still love her very dearly, and she supports me in a myriad of other ways.
Rather, the fault was mine in quitting out too soon. I let it lie and went on to other things. I wrote in my journal, I wrote other things in which my personality shone through (albeit weakly, obliquely, like late winter sunlight through dirty windows), but not poetry. Just recently I took it up again. I figured, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly, and if I want to write poetry, why not just write poetry? What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll produce some bad poetry? Heaven knows there’s been enough of that in the world, and if I add to its store, there will not be an end of it after I’m gone. And if I produce something good? Then it will have been worth it. Even if I don’t produce anything anyone wants to read, I’ll still have learned and grown as a person, as a writer, as a mover and shaper of words. I’ll have grown my powers of expression and gained clarity and insight into myself and the world around me. So why not?
So here and now, I give notice that I won’t quit. I’ll keep at it, labor over it, learn some craft and some art, put some sweat and some elbow grease into it; invest time, thought, heart, and desire, make something that I’m proud to call my own, something that someone might want to read. I will continue to collect words, to focus, to draw together my scattered heedlessly flung thoughts and hone them into slivers and shards of poetic genius; hammer and saw and cut and nail, again and again, until the structure takes shape and solid form; take dead aim and draw the bow and release, again and again — until I start to get it right. Even if it’s for no one else, this is for me, so I can become part of what I want to be — a poet, someone genuinely recognized for the quality of his words. I won’t make the mistake of waiting too long on another’s opinion again. I’ve got to keep moving. I’ve lost so much time already.