I read Saeed Jones’ beautiful collection of poems Prelude To Bruise during the holidays. It has been another pointer for me, for what direction I want my life to be heading. This collection is so build up with emotion, you can’t help but cry a bit through all of it. It’s so heartbreaking. Luckily, I don’t have half of the pain that lives in Jones’ poems, but still this woke me up to a calling that I’ve been feeling the last couple of months: Poetry is what I really want to do, it is what I am really good at.
I’ve slowly started branching out. I’ve been sending some of my poetry to a couple of friends during the last year, and I made my sister a collection of poems as one of her Christmas presents. Overall the feedback has been astounding. This has given me a belief that Yes, I can do this. It is not just some far-fetched dream, trying to be something that I can’t be. This is something that I both want and have the talent to do. And just as importantly: I have the will. Writing is something I do on a daily basis. At least I try, even though all days aren’t equally productive, quantitatively or qualitatively. At least I write something, and I believe in writing to get better.
I also know that I’m not at all at a point yet where I would feel happy publishing my work. There are some good things, definitely, but there is too much that is bland or needs editing. But that’s another area where I’m starting to make progress: Editing. When making the collection for my sister, I ended up trimming a couple of my poems down, because I put them in a hand-written notebook, very small in size, that couldn’t quite fit the longest poems I’ve written. That meant making decisions; which part of this poem is the strong part? Which part can I let go? Could I erase something from the middle, to make the start and end come on more powerful?
Editing has always been my worst enemy, but now I see the fun parts of it. Having written with a purpose for a couple of years now, my writing has gotten so much better that I no longer treat my poems as “holy”. I dare touch them now. A poem is not necessarily finished just because I’ve put the pen away. I’ve needed to let go of some of my ideals: I never wanted to touch literary analyzing because I felt like it did a great injustice to the writer. Now I see it doesn’t necessarily do that. I still believe much of what goes on in classrooms is a waste of time – at best. Over-analyzing every little detail of a poem, when often the writer has just put down a stream of consciousness. But I acknowledge that there ARE things to be found by analyzing, and especially by analyzing your own writing. There are so many sub-conscious things you put in a text that you’re simply not aware of – but can see when you have let it rest for a week or so, and come back to it with fresh eyes. And often the realization can bring even more things to the table.
Admitted, I’m still pretty new to editing. I still need to work on it some more; treat my poems even less holy – maybe have a book only for reworked poems, where I can do all the crazy things I didn’t dare when I wrote the poem at first. But the mere fact that I’m doing it, that I’m editing, is such a relief to me. I’ve known for a long time that this was the next step, but I never knew if I had what it took to be ruthless when it came down to it; to be able to cut and paste, to remove and add, and sometimes to just say: This is as it should be.
Tomorrow is New Years Eve. I will be with my family for the night for the first time in three years. The last two years I’ve spent it with a couple of friends that I’ve now fallen out with. Quite recently, even. So I guess this New Years Eve really brings with it some change. I’m out to find a new apartment, new friends and probably in a new part of the country where I haven’t lived before. My school will be the same; I’m trying to study for my exams, but it’s not going all that well. Had a massive headache over Christmas, effectively preventing me from reading anything for more than half an hour or so at a time. Plus Saeed Jones really stole my time with that Prelude To Bruise, just to mention it again. It’s such an amazing collection of poems. As I wrote for my costumer review on Amazon: I would recommend this for anyone who is fond of beauty and heartache. — if you’ve read just a few posts on here, you will know that both of these are in my field of expertise.
Spending New Years Eve with the family also means that it’s highly unlikely that I will find the love of my life at that time, giving me another opportunity to just relax my mind and start the new year slowly. I’ve promised myself that I will try to take better care of my heart in 2015 than I did this year. Boy, I really messed around with it the last 12-13 months. I don’t know if I will be able to make any real changes to the way I go about it, but I hope I will.
I just want 2015 to be a great year, just as ’14 and ’13 have been. And most of the years that came before. If 2015 can be another small step on my way, I will be more than happy. If 2015 can be to 2014, what 2014 was to 2013 in terms of creative progress, I will have a record contract, be a published writer and live in New York.
But I will be setting my bar just an inch below that.
Happy New Year.