I’m a Poet and I Didn’t Know It

It’s been a few days since I shared anything, and it’s not been for want of anything to write about!

I’ve always been a home bird; I don’t think I’d ever spent more than about 4 or 5 months away from home; even when I lived at uni I packed up and went back home before the first year even finished and commuted for the rest of the time. I have such admiration for my husband for moving to the UK to be with me and giving over 6 years of his life away from his family while they’re in a completely different country. Now it’s my turn.

Fear, it holds us back. I don’t fear my own passing. I have a not-so-morbid fascination with mortality and how quickly things can end. I fear the passing of others though. I’m scared of the precious moments I’m missing out on with those I love in the UK. I’m pleased that I always tried to make the most of those times, yet a bit disappointed that I didn’t make the effort to have more with certain people. It all comes back to discipline again – saying you’ll do something and doing it; that’s something I try to hold in high regard because there was a time I wasn’t very good at doing that. When just getting dressed and out the door seemed too much effort – or when my self-esteem was low and told me they wouldn’t care if I wasn’t there.

I’ve been stateside for 14 months and in that time my Gran and my Nan have both died, my dad had pneumonia (he’s ok now, thankfully), a close family friend had life-saving surgery, a friend’s dad passed, then another’s, another friend’s parent is terminally ill, another has also lost a grandparent; all friends my own age…I’m buzzing with adrenaline right now. I feel like if I run on the spot for long enough I can make the earth turn faster, speed up time and get past the next 12 days until I’m back in the UK again, holding both my parents tight.

My friends, my family, I love you by the way.

I also know that it’s inevitable, one day they’ll both be gone. I am not going to waste my time here anymore. I am not going to sit by feeling sorry for myself and dwell on what I may or may not accomplish. I have to spend this time away from them and I am going to make it count; give it a worth so much more than a pay check from a lousy retail job so that when the time comes I know there was a point in me being so far away.

And so, we come back to why I’m doing this blog in the first place; me being true to myself. I realized something the other day; I am not a story teller – not in the traditional sense. I always knew I’m not a novelist, I’m no good at prose even though I gave it a damn good go. I don’t think I’m a screenwriter either – that’s the same as a novelist but without the extra effort in thinking up the detail. It’s not a bad thing. Jon’s a musician. He’s great at guitar but he can’t play the violin. My friend, Robin, is bilingual in French but I won’t expect him to also speak Japanese.

Where did this love of writing stem from? What seeds were planted back in the day? Poems. It’s all I ever did. Looking back on my external hard drive I have 345 poems written between 2000-2007 poems (and I know there are a few missing). Going through all that took some time. Specifically the ones I wrote before my degree…jeez. Lots of floaty loving feelings or deep dismal despair! So I pulled out the ones I liked, or that had promise, and whittled it down to about 120. From those I organized them into different folders – ‘Almost There’, ‘Favourite’, ‘Needs Work’, ‘Nostalgic’, ‘Like the Lines’ and ‘Some Good Ideas’. Just by working on those I’d have an anthology.

Poetry just makes sense to me. I felt like I was approaching screenwriting the same way I approach my Chemistry ‘AS’ Level. I just couldn’t quite make it click. I remember asking my teacher for help to understand the equations we were working on in the run up to an exam. “I don’t understand it,” I told him. “You don’t need to understand it, you just need to remember it,” he said. My mind doesn’t work like that though. I need to ‘get’ something to remember it. So I took my ‘How to be a Screenwriter’ books back to the library and wandered down the poetry aisle, looking for books on form and style. There weren’t many but when I flicked through one I realized I know all this. I don’t need to study, just like Jon’s still getting straight As in his theory tests while he’s at level 3 and still hasn’t needed to look at the books. He just gets it.

Then I think back a few years when Steph asked me to not only read, but also write, her reading for her wedding. She told me I was the first person who came to mind even though I’ve only written about 3 poems in the past 8 years. It meant the world to me. Then the other day I was chatting to my old friend Angela, on messenger, who told me the following: ‘In my opinion you’re good at everything you try, I’ve never known you to fail at anything and I’m so proud of you for making the decision to take the time to find out what you really want to do’. Wonderful words that I really needed to hear, and a testament to me for keeping my failures low key, ha! I do try to follow the mantra that there’s no such thing as failure, just a chance to learn and grow.

So here I am, a poet apparently. Even a few lines from some heartbroken dirge have potential (see featured image). I still haven’t written anything yet but my shiny notebook beside me is gently cupping my new ideas in its hands and I think, now I’ve cleared some room, it won’t be long.

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