On Completing National Poetry Writing Month

Today is the last day of this year’s National Poetry Writing Month. I’d actually stumbled upon it quite by accident. I no longer remember how it was that I found out about it, but I know someone who has participated in National Novel Writing Month before, so I may have been initially attracted by the similarity of their obnoxious abbreviations, NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo—which I otherwise refuse to use.

As I mentioned earlier in the month, I haven’t been much of a fan of poetry for a long time. At least, I haven’t normally sought it out. I’ve generally preferred a good song lyric; a few artists—among them David Sylvian, KatieJane Garside, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, and Randy Newman—consistently write lyrics that easily stand on their own as poetry.

Also, though I’ve written poems from time to time, I haven’t done so regularly, or with any particular purpose. Occasionally, a thought or phrase will come to mind; if I haven’t let so much time go by that I no longer remember it, I’ll write it down. From there, something may or may not take shape. So, this was potentially a stretch.

Some days, it was difficult. There were a few days when I would write lines in my journal, then scratch them out when I found them wanting. Sometimes, I’d find myself cobbling something together from several attempts at working with the day’s writing prompt.

More often than not, though, the exercises worked as an extension of the morning pages I’ve been writing every day as part of an Artist’s Way group. Some days, I’d get two-thirds of the way through the morning pages, then find myself making up the rest by working on the day’s poem. Often—especially when I’d decide to ignore the writing prompt—the poem would address something that I’d either started writing about during that day’s morning pages, or hadn’t yet been able to express. (That might happen anyway, but was more likely when I ignored the prompts.)

Not to mention that April has been quite the tumultuous month. When it started, my divorce was still pending; I hadn’t been able to file our 2012 tax return (and we were certainly going to owe money this year), and still needed to file an amended return for 2011 (a result of the problems that plagued the last couple years of the marriage); and I had enough going on otherwise that I’d already discovered I wasn’t going to get nearly as much accomplished in the meantime as I had originally expected.

Here we are at the end of the month, and much has changed. Taxes are filed—and didn’t cost nearly as much as I’d feared; the divorce is final, and the last couple of small steps necessary to disentangle the relationship nearly complete; I’ve started attending a divorce and separation support group; and I’ve actually had a little bit of free time in which to savor the absence of the weight that has been on my shoulders for the last six month, and to begin considering my next moves.

And I intend to continue writing. Not only is it something I’ve always enjoyed doing, but I’m also feeling less self-conscious about the results. I don’t know that I’ll necessarily continue posting daily; it just depends on what happens next.

(30 April 2013)

1 Comment

  1. Well, I don’t know who you are, and I am sorry about your divorce, but I am glad you are getting your feet under you once again. Keep on writing. It is good for your soul and healing for your spirit. Congrats on finding NaPoWriMo 2013. This was my first year participating as well. My name is Kathie and I count birds and write poetry. Nice to meet you.

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