With a little less than three weeks left, my 365 Poetry Project is drawing to its completion. For me, it’s been done for a while, if only in my head. I won’t say that my heart isn’t in it anymore, because that’s not true, but it’s certainly been elsewhere of late. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t embarked on such a venture could ever fully understand the time, energy, sacrifice, and mental discipline that’s required to see it all the way through. It takes a lot out of a person. It has taken a lot out of me.
Writing a poem every day for a year is a lot like riding in Wonka’s great glass elevator: you must dare to push onward, higher and higher, hoping that you’ll burst out into a new, more scenic frame of mind, but you’re never really sure that you won’t just hit the ceiling and be shredded into ribbons. It’s always a possibility.
I would never want to push myself so hard and so fast that I took the joy out of the ride. I have struggled with the temptation to stretch myself to 500 days, or even 1,000, just to make sure nobody else would ever top my feat. I have no doubt that I could do it- I could write a poem every day for the rest of my mortal life, I’m certain of that. But how many of them would I love? How many of them would I even remember? Would I go so far as to force myself into a life of rigid obedience for the sake of breaking a record, risking diminished quality for the sake of sheer overwhelming quantity?
No, 365 poems must be the cutoff, and in less than three weeks the project will end. But lest I be tempted to get sentimental about it, I am proud to point out that it has not been in vain, not in any respect. The mental, emotional, and spiritual growth I have experienced has changed me monumentally for the better, but more than that I have brought to fruition a childhood dream that I only halfway ever really believed I would achieve: I have written an anthology.
Candy Pizza is the essence of my soul in book form- over 30 of my most cherished poems, given the proper care and meticulous editing they deserve. These are the poems I hand over to friends and family when they ask what my deal with poetry is, the poems I read to myself in low moments when I need reassurance, the poems I feel have something to say and say it well. These are the poems I wouldn’t be ashamed to know that somebody paid for. They are my very best.
The book should be available within the next couple of weeks- my hope is before the end of the project. I have learned a great deal about self-publishing, mainly that it’s easier than you’d imagine but still a lot harder than you’d wish for. I’m still ironing out the kinks, but the lengthy processing time is just evidence of how much love I’ve put into it. I don’t have any children, but this is the closest thing I’ve got. This is my miracle.
Far be it from me to inundate my readers with shallow attempts to hawk a product, those same readers who have given me support and encouragement literally from Day 1. I have enjoyed creating art for you and receiving your praise, thanks, advice, and empathy all along the way. That in itself is payment enough.
But in order to publish, one must sell copies, that’s just the way it works. And as a young, single teacher who badly needs a new car (wink, wink) I would ask that if my poems have touched your heart, wrung out a strong reaction, or just given you something to chew on, please consider purchasing a copy to add to your home library. (And uh, pass it along to all your big fancy book-publisher friends!)
So that’s it then- I drag you along on this poetry journey, ask you to buy my book, and then drop off into obscurity, right? Not exactly. One of the reasons I decided against lengthening the project is that I’ve been given an exciting opportunity that I’d like to throw as much of my energy into as possible. I’ve been asked to teach a writing class for the 6th and 7th grades at my school (in addition to the Library, Spanish, and Math classes I also teach -_-) But of course, writing is very special to me and I want to do justice to the young minds in my care. Growing up, I didn’t have any teachers who were particularly enthused about teaching writing, and I was all but left to discover a passion for it on my own. I believe I have a responsibility, if only in my own mind, to foster and encourage a love of writing in the next generation, however small my influence may be.
I do not intend to abandon this blog, though I cannot promise daily involvement as I’ve become used to. But I can promise that I will never stop writing, come what may, and that if you check back every so often, I’ll still be churning out bits and pieces, poems, stories, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Perhaps one day you’ll see some of my work in your favorite magazine, or on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (a girl can dream, right?)
I will leave you with a word of encouragement: whatever your Wonkavator may be, ride it all the way to the top. When you crash out into the open sky, write a book about it and then go find another one 🙂
With love and thanks always,