This year, I challenged myself to write 366 poems. Oh, shit.
Ok, that’s intense. Why did I do this? Let’s rewind and give you some back-story. Even though I have an overwhelming amount of passions and goals, being a poet was always at the top of my list of life goals. At 13-years-old, I began writing poetry and immediately knew it was what I was meant to do in this world. But oh boy, that was definitely not a practical goal to present my strict Eastern European parents with. So, I dabbled in prose for the rest of high school and come university (the time to get serious about life and my future) I gave it up. It didn’t seem like a logical path forward, there would never be money in poetry, thus, I wasn’t going to enjoy creating it for much longer. I stopped writing entirely. I realize how clichéd the ‘unsupported artist’ story sounds, but to hell with it. Myths are meant to repeat themselves. Aside from the countless business and psychology reports I produced, I barely scribed a handful of sonnets for over five years.
All at once, at the age of 21, at the end of a month-long Croatian vacation and 4.5-year-long relationship, a waterfall of words came pouring through me. There is a lesson here about letting go of what other people want for your life in order to reconnect to your heart’s purpose, but hopefully you can read between the lines. I wrote manically, on beaches, planes, buses, walks, toilets, anywhere the muse caught me in a fleeting moment of inspiration. I couldn’t ignore the roaring poetic voice that had returned, despite, for years having chastised it down to a mere whisper – inaudible to the human ear. I started writing more often, a few times a week, but I never shared my poetry with others. Until of course I had an archetypical and very insistent and charismatic friend deplore me to share my writing with her. When I was finally enthusiastically coerced into reading for her, I couldn’t believe the incredible praise and compliments she graciously offered. I was humbled and so proud. Of course, my logical mind reminded me that she was my friend, she had an obligation to like my verbose free-verse views. I never truly acknowledged that I was any good at being a poet, nor that by some sorcery others would enjoy reading my work. To be frank, I am still not convinced of this, but writing for other people is besides the point of poetry. I write it because otherwise, in the strictest scientific and most medical accounts, I would die.
Still, never doubt the power of praise, I started reluctantly sharing my pieces more often with my friends and partner; all with great response. But I never shared the work with strangers, that was the equivalent of social suicide. Why the EFF would my work colleagues and university friends want to read about my adjective filled feelings and experiences on Instagram? No thanks. However, during a typically candour-rich conversation between my best friend Maria and I, she insisted that I post my poems about the sea on Instagram. I believe she actually dared me to do it. Human beings are very basically motivated by food, sex, and truth or dare. The first time I publicly shared a poem, ON THE INTERNET, I felt like I was simultaneously going to vomit and scream. Although that would have been great content for a teenage boy Vine post, my first Insta sea poem got 10 hearts and no comments, a tiny ripple in the endless scroll. Now, I know Brené Brown would have something to say about how doing this was an incredible act of vulnerability and courage, but you made that connection. Every month or so I started posting a poem on Instagram; I even included “Poet” in my description (AKA the 260 characters that define who you are and want to be on this planet.)
Then, on my 25 birthday, I was feeling rather prophetic and poetic after accomplishing one of my bucket list items: climbing the Inka Trail to Matchu Picchu, so I made the ballsy goal to write 366 poems (it’s a leap year) in 2016. I dedicated to pair each poem with an original photograph and here we are. Four months into 2016 and I am so so very behind and have produced and shared 44 poems and photos. Despite my procrastination (creativity isn’t automatic ok?) I am 100% committed to following through on 366, even if that means writing 2 poems a day for 59 days. This is a creative challenge and a goal that sets my soul on fire. So I must complete it. I don’t promise that all of the poems will be good, but I promise to write them.
Follow me on Instagram #366Prose for daily* poems and to provide me with much-needed ass-kickings and encouragement. *I solemnly swear to try my bestest to write daily.
#InstaPoems 1 – 5
I am grateful for your feedback and support.
Poetry & Heart Palpitations,