Today, I published my first collection of poetry/prose.
Why did I decide to self-publish a collection of my poetry and prose?
Oh gosh, why not, right? I had stacks upon stacks of words from the past two years, so the hard part was done. It was just selecting which ones to include, compiling them, formatting, finding a cover design, and bam.
(I say “just” – it was time-consuming and challenging and I second-guessed myself for doing this about 8,000 times. But I pushed through the doubts, and I’m so glad I did.)
It was something I thought about doing so many times, and I kept putting off the decision. I kept saying, “I’ll do it later.” To be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be tied up in the poetry biz. “Poet” sits uncomfortably on me. I’m a writer, and proud to be one, but a poet? Eh… I wasn’t sure I wanted that attribution. And putting them out there like this, beyond my Instagram platform, felt like stepping into that label irrevocably.
But why limit the things I do? That’s what it came down to. I’m not going to reach the end of my life and think to myself, “Yikes, wish I hadn’t published that poetry book.” But it’s always so likely that the opposite will happen. I always regret the things I didn’t do far more than the ones I did.
We should all do the things which scare us, right?
Well, this was a twofer.
– Sharing such personal words
Both opening a window for others to shout their opinions and criticisms through.
Public perception is a thing. Nobody likes to be seen as “weak.” There are some heavy themes in these poems. Some true heartbreak. Part of me wanted to cover those pieces and pretend I was fine, just fine, that I took it like a champ, gathered up those cardiac fragments and shoved them back into my chest and just carried right along with my business.
But ultimately, I decided… to hell with that. It’s a part of life so many of us go through. Why should I pretend that it was all sunshine and roses for me? So that someone else heartbroken comes along, reads my words, and feels like they shouldn’t be feeling heartbreak the way that they are?
No, I didn’t shy away from the way any of it felt. Falling in love, and the aftermath of love.
It’s a memory book for me. A scrapbook. I can flip to any page and be transported to how I felt when I wrote those words, where I was, what was going on. It’s the very definition of bittersweet, but I’m so glad I have this record.
Because you know how sometimes a doctor has to break a bone to set it the right way?
My heart got re-set the right way.
And you get to see how it got there over the course of 200 poems.
“Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.”
– Carl Sandburg –