There have been times in my life — and I’m not proud of this — where I found haiku annoying. Other more poetic forms, too (I’m looking at you, Rondeau). Something about the restrictive nature just turned me off. I’m a free verse kind of girl. Substance first, style second. Which is, I know, narrow-minded and disrespectful of the vast and beautiful metrical and rhyming canon that marks our literary past.
I have loved reading Byron and Shelley and Donne, and even some Shakespeare (but not Spenser). I just never wanted to write like them.
I haven’t written creatively for a long time. Focus changes, lives change. Often the first thing that gets axed from our busy lives are the things that bring us the most joy. At the top of my list: poetry. Even though I still feel that blush of embarrassment when mentioning it, like I collect ceramic cats or something (although there’s nothing wrong with collecting ceramic cats), I write poetry. And I have done so for as long as I can remember. Even in public school I was shoving my prolific ditties under the eyeballs of anyone who would read them. As any writer knows, writing owns you. You just know that it’s what you’re supposed to do. So get on with it.
But getting on with it is hard [cue groan]. It’s hard mainly because we make it hard on ourselves: not allowing time for it, casting unreasonable demands on our creative supplies — write a book, now! go! — neglecting the muse when it comes sweetly calling (and playing Candy Crush instead).
There comes a point, though, when you realize that it’s time. No more bullshit excuses. Give yourself permission, if that’s what you need to do. But just do it.
I have been writing stories over on ozy.com for a few months now and love. every. minute. of. it. There’s something supersonically satisfying about writing something that you’re proud of — and for which you receive cash. But I’ve allowed poetry to go cold, shivering somewhere in a snowbank that just seems to just get bigger.
For me, it’s time to dig it out. Let that frozen muse come inside a while and have a thawing scotch by the fire. But just for a few minutes at a time, mind you. Just can’t rush things, even though I know she has so much to say. Perhaps that’s the most frightening thing of all.
For now, I’m starting off small. Even if that means haiku. Even if that means bad haiku. Because it’s something. And it’s a start.