At the beginning of it, I said to myself, “Pablo Neruda wrote some love poems. We don’t read them all today.” (I mean, some people do.) “But there are a few that are very well known.” (Check them out!) And I’m glad I said this to myself, since it helped me put fourteen poems out there. In fourteen days, for that matter.
Let me make one thing clear. I didn’t write fourteen love poems in fourteen days, so the title is a lie. I wrote about ten of the love poems in advance. The other four I wrote on the spot, a few days before their publication dates. Initially, I’d sat down and written fourteen that I intended to use, which brings me to the first lesson I learned…
Sometimes, when you re-read poetry you’ve written, it’s not so good.
And if you’ve written it in advance of when you planned to publish it, you have the chance to realize this. Not so much if you spam the publish button, as I may or may not have done at times in the past. But it’s all part of the learning process! I’ve now resolved to let poems I want to publish sit for at least three days before I publish them, so I can exercise some editorial scrutiny. You can always ask a friend to read through your work, too, to make sure it’s up to caliber. And if it’s not, don’t despair — just go back to tinkering. There’s always a way to make a poem (or any other piece of writing, for that matter) better.
At the end of the day, remember that it’s often better to put something out there, even if it’s mediocre, than to put out nothing at all. This isn’t necessarily true of all writing, but I’ve found it to be true with poetry. Once you start sharing your work, the words start to come, and the poems take shape.
And sometimes, when you re-read poetry you’ve written, it’s better than you remember!
I don’t have quite enough distance from my fourteen poems of love to judge them with totally clear eyes yet, but I recently went through the Voyage of the Mind archives reading some of my older poetry and discovered a couple gems. I mean, I’d forgotten I’d written some of these poems. This has a lot to do with the volume of writing I did back in June/July of 2020 — I think if I’d written the poems over a longer span, I might remember them better. Here are a few that really caught my attention, if you’re looking for mid-afternoon reads:
- Canary in the Coal Mine — creepy, creepy, creepy!
- I Do Not Know — a love poem fitting the themes of my 14 Poems of Love
- Footprints in the Snow — in my opinion, one of my best poems ever. How will I ever write something that flows so beautifully again??
But if you read those and they leave you wanting, here’s another thing I learned…
The beauty of poetry is VERY MUCH in the eyes of the reader.
I asked my Voyage of the Mind co-conspirator (and my boyfriend) Dylan to tell me which of the 14 Poems of Love he liked the best. Among the ones he liked were “If I Were the Sea” and “Better on Paper.” Which, while I think are perfectly fine poems, were not among my favorites. Is one of us right or wrong? No! We’re just two different readers. Only time will tell which poems of love the majority of readers favor.
My 14 Poems of Love project also taught me how to write at a perhaps sustainable, not breakneck, pace that’ll greatly benefit Voyage of the Mind going forward.
I formulated a new vision for this blog back in May of 2020. Jeez, it seems like ages ago, but it’s been less than a year. In June, my mind threw me for a manic loop, and for the duration of June and July I put out a massive amount of content. I’m taking about 400,000+ words of content. I’ve only begun to wrap my mind around how crazy that is/was, and not all in a good way.
Because it would be wonderful if we could all write like superhumans. But I’m only human, like everyone else, and a big high precedes a big low — especially when world circumstances are in such turmoil. I became pretty depressed and stayed that way through August, September, and October, before seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in November and starting to haul myself out. Now, don’t worry about me — I’m used to shifting mood patterns by now. My lows are low, but they’re nowhere near as low as they once here, and I’m working on getting a grip on the highs.
At any rate, I’ll hopefully continue putting out about a post every day or every other day for the foreseeable future. I really hope you’ve been enjoying the content I’m producing — I’m looking forward to sharing so much more with you. For some updates on things that are coming up and some more personal talk, check out my latest chit-chat post. Feel free to drop me a line about anything in the comments, and thanks for reading this post.