Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Poetry Blog

I've gone and gotten a little blog happy.

In September I began a new adventure. At 28 I started a new job, began my MFA in Creative Writing and moved into a new apartment. I also began a long distance relationship. I have another blog that I started back then (so so long ago) where I examine the overlap between being a student and a teacher at once. I found myself rarely writing there because it was so narrowly focused. I believe blogging to be a good tool for reflection and I certainly need to reflect on my experiences as a teacher and a student. But it felt incomplete or strange to write about poetry or the artists lifestyle in that space.

I know now I was leaving out something important. What does my life look like as a writer? More specifically, a poet? How can I present myself as a writer to the world? It might seem odd that I'd leave out this large detail, but it makes sense to me that, a few months ago, my focus was more centered upon learning to be a teacher. I've been a student before and the student aspect of those two roles was attached to being a writer. But I had never taught and I couldn't fudge that role. I had to know my lines.

I've got a good grasp of the job now and I know I have a lot to learn as a teacher, but more so lately I am fascinated by this lifestyle I have chosen. Being a writer is confusing. We are sort of the odd-ducks of artists, both inside and outside of a particular lifestyle. People do not perceive writers as artists. We can get away with seeming mainstream. We can pass as journalists and editors. We can be professionals.

Yet, I have chosen a subgroup of writers that people understand even less so, perhaps because of it's more obvious association with the role of an artist. Poets can't pass as mainstream. Automatically you are thrown into a category where assumptions are made (and some of them are true) and those assumptions may make us unrelateable to mainstream society.

So here I am, a writer, a poet, an artist of words, of language (yes, I said it) and I'm trying to figure out what that means.

I've been writing poetry and stories my entire life. It wasn't until this past year that I realized I have some real talent for writing. Recognizing that in myself was a long time coming. Like many people, I don't see myself as I am. However, I've set up a life that includes art and poetry and creativity around every bend. I've started a literary magazine, I run workshops, I organize poetry readings and I read my own poetry. I am well connected with my city's literary community and I feel at home here. I know writing is my calling and the literary artists are my tribe.

I had some big realizations this past week. After my boyfriend had to take a job in California, I was left to my own devices the following weekend. I wasted away (not just hours but) days of my week watching television, surfing Facebook and Twitter, sleeping and talking on the phone. I did a lot of crying and beat myself up for "being a writer" - whatever that means. After realizing that my behavior was a response to two things: the loneliness I felt after my partner left for the other side of the country and also to the lack of control I felt in my life. I finally had a job I enjoyed, yet I could not put the time into it I wanted to. I finally had the chance to delve into my writing, yet I found myself avoiding writing at all costs. Work was demanding. School was demanding. My relationship was now also demanding. I felt I had no time for any one thing, as I should always be working on something more important.

After realizing that television and the internet were distractions I was unable to discipline myself to avoid, I had my boyfriend permanently block my access to certain time-sucking websites. This past week I was forced to reconstruct my time and use it wisely. No distractions. Many questions came to mind. What was I doing with my life? What did being a writer mean? How should my life change? How should my day be organized? How should my writing and space and home be organized? How does one live like a writer? These questions only spawned more questions. I've been writing rather prolifically this past week too, beginning a number of new poems and voraciously editing many as well.

So here is where I will be discovering what it means to live like a writer, a poet, an artist. I have titled this blog "Dear Outer Space" after a new poem I've written recently. I feel like it's my strongest poem to date and marks a turn in my writing process. I am looking forward to beginning the process of getting my work published. I will examine the concept of space(s) in future posts, both outer and inner.

I like transparency. I like processing experiences in words. I like sharing said processes and experiences with others. I hope you like reading about them.
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