It’s a funny thing to start taking myself more seriously as a poet and an artist. It’s not like I decided to start this journey yesterday. And yet, I’ve had to admit to myself recently that I’ve been a hobby-writer.
And understand–there’s nothing wrong with being a hobby writer. The fact that my meals aren’t dependent on my creative output is incredibly liberating. But it can also mean that I tell myself to put that project down, I have real work to do.
Real work. I’m blessed in that I know that I have more than one ‘calling’ in my life, more than one vocation I intrinsically believe I’m meant to devote time to. There are certainly occasions when they even dove-tail nicely together. But these commitments more often create friction and strain–and poetry comes out last. Sometimes that really IS the right decision for me so that I meet the needs of my own family and the needs of my day-gig in education.
Being a teacher is wonderful work, and I’m constantly striving to develop more ways I can help my students become empowered to navigate the world. But that takes incredible amounts of energy. Sometimes there’s nothing left over.
But remember–I’m devoting more time to developing myself as a creative person, and I’ve run into some paradoxical truths. Each project I’ve been working on lately has fed into the next project. It’s like the energy from one thing is generating energy for the next thing. While there just aren’t enough hours in the day (and isn’t that everyone’s problem?), the summer is a great time to lay the groundwork for how I’m going to maintain these projects through the school year. So basically I’m feeding the beast in anticipation that there may be a period of hibernation in the future, a time when I have to put some things down, only to resume them again in the spring.
I’m also ORGANIZING. I put that in all caps because ORGANIZING is one of those activities where you can devote an incredible amount of time that feels productive, but where nothing new actually gets produced. I’m not creating any new poetry. I’m cataloging all the old crap, deciding if there’s anything worth salvaging, retiring other pieces that have seen too much attention because I was too lazy to write anything new (or never did anything significant with those old pieces anyway)… and all on a June 15th deadline. There are some really great things I want to submit for AND I’m writing a chapbook review, and June 15th puts a concrete deadline on all of it! (plus, Riverfest will be over!)
So wish me luck as I clean out my metaphorical (and very real/electronic) file cabinets and try to make sense of over 9 years of poetry. Also–if you’re the type to enjoy social media, come find me AND River City Poetry on Twitter and Instagram [@aprilinwichita & @rivercitypoetry]