A relative long time ago there was a movie called Semi-Tough. Back in those days, there was no internet, cell phones, iPods, or laptop computers. But we all seemed to survive pretty well.
Not quite back that far, but not too many years later, I started writing poetry. It was lousy poetry, teenage-angst to the gills. But for a young woman growing up in the middle of nowhere, it tapped into a part of my brain, leaving marks on my soul. After I met my husband I gave it up, because all I could write was depressing drivel that seemed incongruous with being head over heels in love. But every once in a while, an event would lead me back to a poem, or two. At that time I wasn’t writing much more than journal entries or lesson plans, a homeschooling ex-pat mum living in the UK. Then NaNoWriMo invaded my life, and the rest is indie novelist history.
Until last month, when a short story was pirated. That incident peeled away a layer of skin that at the time I didn’t notice was gone. Writers have pretty thick hides, or we should. And while mine is darn tough in some places, it’s just semi-tough in others. My heart and soul were burned by that thievery, but hey, crap happens. Get over it.
I thought I had, especially since finding NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). It’s not affiliated with NaNo, but I’ve been having a blast in between rediscovering my poetic roots and starting an epic poem that has sort of taken over April. “The Hounds of Love and War” is pretty melodramatic, but not all the output has been angsty; “Ninja Hat Poem” and “The Pancake That Saved Silicon Valley” spring to mind.
In April, I also wrote what turned out to be the very beginning of a series; I didn’t plan it, but sometimes sagas crop out of nowhere. I completed the first of who knows how many installments of that tale, and plan to return to it sooner rather than later.
While still writing poems.
And snapping clouds.
And watching baseball (rarely at the park, but Spring Training was a heck of a ton of fun).
And… All the other stuff that happens when I’m not seated in front of my computer or somewhere else with pen and paper in hand. I adore pen and paper, how the poems are fashioned, even the LONG ones, like “The Pancake That Saved Silicon Valley”. It was fourteen single-sided sheets from a legal pad, and I reveled in every ridiculous minute of it. (Pancakes, aliens, Eric Clapton, blah blah blah…)
Amid all this faffing about, I learned something else; I don’t particularly want to publish novels anymore. In part, yes, due to having been pirated. I’m pretty damn tough when it comes to some areas in my life. But in others, I’m semi-tough. And until I can be tough all over when it comes to publishing…
I’m going to pull back. I’ll be retired fully once I finish “The Hounds of Love and War”; I want to publish that leviathan, one of these days, as it’s part-poem, part-novel. As for the rest of it…
It’s like baseball or football, which is what the film Semi-Tough was in part about. Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, and Jill Clayburg were a love triangle also involved with football and self-help movements.
(Remember, it was 1977.)
But whether it’s 1977 or 1999 or 2013, if one’s heart isn’t in something, what’s the point? I don’t like admitting a pirate got the better of me, or maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe poetry has been waiting for me to get over the angst, then return for new lessons. Life is about learning, exploring, finding one’s true calling. For the last couple of years it was publishing novels (and expunging a truck-load of melodramatic tendencies). Now it’s something different.
As I begin this new adventure, I won’t be blogging about it; in part that I think I’ve said all I need to say about writing. And that poetry is a wild, fleeting gift that arises without warning. You can’t cage it, although you can revise, just as in noveling. But the act of catching a poem, or being caught by one, isn’t the sort of treasure I could accurately describe in a blog post. I’ve been blogging about writing since summer 2007, here at WordPress since last July. Over the last six years I’ve met fantastic bloggers and authors who have enriched my life immensely. Now it’s time to slip inside a poem and see what happens.
As I’ve noted on this site’s main page, I’ll consider myself semi-retired until “Hounds” is released. Then I’ll be a fully retired author of novels or novel-like poems. Indie publishing was a blessing that I’ll forever hold close in my heart. But not everything lasts forever. Some events are momentary, yet, unless I’m willing to sit quietly, those events might pass me right on by. Thanks for reading this blog, and the books. May all your authorial dreams be found, and may some of them sneak up behind you and say Boo!