Since January I’ve written approximately 180 poems. 180. Before January I had not written anything substantial in over a year. I used to be a writer of fiction, wanting desperately to write a novel that changed something, or said something bold. I wanted to touch people the way my favorites have touched me; more than touch, mold. My favorite books formed my values, my world views, and who I choose to be every day. Maybe it is narcissim but, as a writer I wanted that. I want to make an impact on someone other than myself.
I set out to write such a novel. One with big themes, that children could write book reports on, with an edgey take on an important topic like Religion or veiled commentary. The way I see the world would be masked under carefully crafted fiction and over explanative imagery. I would provide a perspective that was fresh and make millions of people see the same world they saw everyday in a brand new filter. So, I started coming up with ideas that could include everyone and every input, only isolating unmentionable belief sets. I would re-read it over and over again. Each glance would make me feel unsatisfied, I could not get out what I felt, what I thought the world should be. My overarching heroic concepts multiplied by epic stakes would surely be a page turner. To my credited I started to draft something interesting, maybe meeting some of these points. But it was contrived. Writing made me feel inadequate. I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted, so I let myself stop writing.
Then I discovered Charles Bukowski. It wasn’t the flowery all encompassing concepts of love by Shakespeare, or the curt vagueness of red wagons found in Carlos William Williams, it was real it was about sex and frustration. It wasn’t about the idea of what sex is to humanity like a professor would have tried to tell me; it was about Charles.
For the first time it clicked. I needed to write about what I thought, I wasn’t writing for the New World Order, I should be writing for me because I, as in Me, had something I felt like saying. One of my favorite poems of mine is about people who eat tacos with a grace I don’t understand. Sure it has implications; that poem about tacos is more honest and thought provoking than any saga I have crafted.
Turns out Writing is about you. It only took me 180 poems to figure it out.