Today is the first day of National Poetry Month, that wonderful month where poetry lovers and writers share and celebrate the joy of writing and reading poetry. For the past few years I have been writing and sharing an original poem a day on my blog as my way of joining in the celebration. I had big plans for this year’s participation, actually several versions of several plans, but midway through today I decided to hoist the white flag and release myself from the idea. We currently have our house on the market and are selling it ourselves which pretty much means my life is turned upside and shaken all around while keeping me in limbo all at the same time. Not a situation designed to bring out my creative best.

But then, as soon as I told myself I wasn’t going to do a poem a day I wanted to beat my head against a proverbial wall because that’s what overachieving perfectionist people do when they realize they are not going to be able to accomplish something as planned. Luckily common sense (and some Zoey kisses) kicked in before then and I was able to calm myself down and relax (mostly) about the idea. There’s always a war between rational and irrational thought going in my head when I make this sort of a decision. It goes something like this.

Real poets write every day. If you were a real poet, you’d honor that emotional commitment you made and get that poem a day written.

Sure, you could write a poem a day for a few days and then what happens if you house sells and suddenly your life is turned even more while you try to find a new place and then you have to get ready to move and don’t forget the Zoey factor in all of this. You’re already stressed out and not sleeping. You want to pile even more stress on yourself? So not a good idea.

I thought you were going to write poems about this house, use it as a way to say goodbye? Make peace with leaving.

I’m ready to leave now. I don’t need to make peace with leaving I just want the house to sell so we can move and I can get out of limbo land.

Don’t you want to record the memories of living here? I thought you loved this house, this garden.

I have lots of notes about living here. I have a Scrivener file full of poem ideas about this house and all the things that have happened to us while we have been here. It’s just that I don’t want to write about it while I am still here. I can’t. I’m like Hemingway  in A Moveable Feast, when he said, “Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan.” When I am not in this house, then I can write about this house, this garden, this life we built here.

A real poet would suffer for her art.

Horse-feathers! (or your expletive of choice)

Not writing a poem a day this month does not mean I am not a real poet. It just means that right now I am choosing to take care of my mental health first. I found that as soon as I waved the white flag about a daily poetry push that I wanted to open my current work-in-progress, a young adult novel in verse, and get back to work. So perhaps this freedom I am giving myself is bringing me another gift, a door that opens, a path that leads me back to finishing the story about two sisters and their lives and the choices they make.

There are lots of people doing daily activities to celebrate National Poetry Month and the always awesome Jama Rattigan has rounded many of them up here.

And if you want to read some of my own original poems from previous years, here are some links to a couple of my favorites: In 2010, I wrote a poem a day about the father I never knew and in 2012 I wrote about how you could Kick the Poetry Can’ts with easy poetry exercises to get you started.


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