Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why I Make

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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.

Dress: Madewell, Jean Jacket, Shoes: Thrift

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Until tomorrow,


  1. First off--"thou must havest thoust shit together" OH MY GOD YOU ARE HILARIOUS that made me laugh out loud. You're super cute and I adore your writing, okay? It's nice that you have lots of outlets for your creativity--if one doesn't work, there's always another option, yeah? I saw your mountain doodle on tumblr and it was so lovely! <3

    I adore that dress. It's seriously the perfect fall dress. Plaid with pretty gold and purple? Yes please!

  2. I love this post! My advice as a 30 year old who was once an English major trying to get my shit together is don't worry about money. Do what you love to do and you will be happy. My husband quit a high paying IT job, which he always hated and only took for the money, for an unpaid internship in public radio. At age 31. His parents totally freaked out. He freaked out. But I knew it was the right thing to do. It took a lot of hard work on his part (working a second job as a mover to pay the bills) but he now has a career as a radio producer. He makes a lot less than he did in IT, but he is happy. I also have poet friends in NYC! They all have "day jobs" but write, publish and share their poetry together all the time and have wonderful lives. Being a poet isn't that hard! Have you ever thought of moving to New York? :)

  3. Ugh I'm kind of in the same boat except that I AM a declared pre-med student but I'm taking half writing classes right now. I want to devote myself 100% to writing but taking that plunge is terrifying. Zero job security? So scary. But I think to some degree you can't worry and agonize about the future and just have faith that it will all work out. Take opportunities as they come and enjoy what you're doing day to day. It WILL work out <3

  4. " 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"

    I love this post.

  5. This is beautiful. And I understand you completely. I always have that inner drive to create, and I feel so useless if I'm not making something. You're such a wonderful writer. xx

  6. give me that dress.
    and yes to all the reasons one creates.

  7. You are preaching to the choir tonight! I wish I had some cool or witty advice but alas I do not. Thanks for writing all that out because you're a hecka better writer than me and I liked reading it.

    Also, it goes without saying, but you look adorable as always!

  8. 1. I am technically "grown up" (aka I have a degree, am working, etc.) and I have not the foggiest idea what the heck I'm doing still. I'm blundering forward collecting a small army of things I am doing in the hopes that I end up somewhere awesome.

    2. If you recognize a passion in yourself, don't let it fall by the wayside. So few people even get to realize they have passions so I'd hold on to it and ride it out wherever it takes you.

    3. Your dress is killer and you look adorable.

  9. You are a word magician, little lady. This is fantastic! I am a maker too and I think it's why I relate so well to you. That nagging desire to create is always festering inside of me, and if I can't release it through music, or words, I have to find another medium or I feel like I'll burst. I can't wait until you're here & we can babble on about poetry and gentlemen (or not so gentle men) until the wee hours!

  10. Also, I have this dress. Bring yours & we can be twins. Thanks.

  11. I think it's good that you funnel your creativity into different outlets. I wish I could make time for my art because it is what really matters to me. It's definitely hard to be interested in something that doesn't fit into a job description. I struggle with it every day. I get fed up trying to defend myself or explain why I am not in graduate school getting a higher degree in something I never plan on using. Just ignore society and focus on what's making you happy at the moment. It seems like you have a good grasp on that!

  12. Emily_RubySlippersOctober 11, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Hmm, well this "Canadian adult somewhere" certainly identifies with much of your writing. I also identify with the feeling of creating things that are too personal to have wider appeal however, but I try and tell myself that human experience is often pretty much the same, at least at certain periods of our lives. I saw an independent Canadian film the other day, a very personal story, which had huge resonance for my life, and reflecting that it's been around the world and well-received everywhere made me feel that perhaps my experience, well-expressed, would have some universal appeal too.

  13. Ok, I LOVE that dress! So pretty and it looks so good on you! I just stumbled upon your blog and love it! I am following you on bloglovin! :) I have a fun giveaway on my blog that I think you will like. Check it out:

  14. lovely dress. :) so like it. :)

    Irene Wibowo


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