I've been writing poetry seriously for about three years now. God, that phrasing is so lame. Let's start over. I've been writing poetry for years and years and years but only started gaining confidence in my potential to create weird, beautiful things in the past few years. Ah, that feels better. The idea of "writing poetry seriously" just sounds morose and ungainly, like I sit in my pipe organ chamber by candlelight furiously quilling away for days at a time until an inky masterpiece has formed. Actually, that doesn't sound too bad. But anyway, though my love of poetry never seems to wan, my confidence in my ability to "do it" (not "do it" do it, I meant do poetry) is always in flux. Now that I'm senior in college and everyone is all "thou must havest thou's shit together," their response when I tell them that my passion (maybe, probably, I think) is in poetry is "what do you plan to do with that?"
I've said before to friends as we commiserate over the "what do I want to be when I grow up question" that seems to be inching closer and closer, that sometimes I wish I had been born with an innate desire to become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist of some sort. I mean, I don't really wish that, though those are all cool jobs. It's just the idea of being interested in something with a bit of a clearer path that's appealing. But I'm interested in poems, and how they work, and how they feel, and the noises they make when you stroke the hair from their foreheads. Last time I checked idealist (yesterday), that's not really in many job descriptions. So, cue my unfortunate poetry spiral.
I've been in the down section of my poetry flux lately, questioning my ability to create much of anything, let alone anything people want to read, SUPER let alone anything someone eventually may want to publish. You know, to make money. My poetry tends to be focussed inward, about myself, not trying to relate to anyone else in a very selfish way. Because, I suppose, I write for myself. The more poetry I read, the more published poetry I read, feels like it's got more of a universal appeal. Well, maybe not universal, but at least it feels more like, "Well this could be about me, or the author, or some young adult Canadian somewhere." This made my writing stagnate even more. Being unable to write but trying frantically to do so, then being unable to write but trying frantically to do so to try and please other people, leads to one big headache, and one frustrated Nicole, and two entirely devoured pumpkin pies but let's not even go there.
I started drawing when I couldn't write. This happens when my poetry sectors are down. I feel an itch to create, but if it can't be writing it still must absolutely be something. So I drew. I've been doodling. I'm no expert doodle magician, no sir, but I do it because I like it. It's been freeing, and calming, and has allowed me to express myself when I feel quite bottled up. And I think it's been so easy and relieving because I'm doing it for myself. These drawings aren't going anywhere. I'm not going to sell them. I'm not going to try to get anyone to want them. They're just something I've been making for the sake of making. I'm a maker. I bake, I write, I draw, I sew, I think, I brooch, I dabble. It's a big part of who I am. I make because I feel the drive to make. Poetry is the medium that feels simultaneously the coziest and the most challenging to me, and that's how I know, or at least think I know, that it's something I can never give up on. However, I have to get back to making poetry because I want to, not because I have to, or because I need to make money, or because I need to "get my name out there," or whatever that means. I have to write poetry to remember people and moments by, I have to write poetry because a spider made a web across my notebook while I was sitting in class and it was a caricature of my life, I have to write poetry to commemorate the color of your hair and the way your t shirt smells. I have to make because I want to, and I have to make what I want to make, and those are the most important things.