This month is National Poetry Writing Month – or #NaPoWriMo. It’s called 30 for 30 – 30 poems for 30 days.
I wrote every day last April and was blown away at what came out on the screen, but also how relieving it was.
I wrote in high school. I was on the school paper. My degree in undergrad was writing and communication centric, but not creative like poetry or short story. I was an editor for the college paper for a year. My masters is relationship and communication centric too. I started blogging in 2010. This blog started in 2013.
I started writing poetry in September-ish 2019.
My first open mic was last January and here we are: almost 150 poems written, including some second and third and fourth drafts.
Really, I like words. I want to paint you a picture with them because you will never have my lived experience, but maybe it can spark something in you and we can create a thread. There I go, might as a well be a poem line.
So far this month I’ve missed two days – and it was for a good reason, but I’ve loved what I’ve written.
My rules for this are simple: no love poems – or inherently love poems; writing in new styles; when the day is done, I can’t go back and fiddle with the poem (until the end of the month); heavily utilizing writing prompts to pull me to new places and lastly, more research so I can add more depth to my writing.
Sarah Kay said it was about a decade ago in her TED Talk – poems can help problem solve and for me it pushes me to a new place where I can better explore language and get it out in front of me instead of in my head.
As I’ve been meeting new people and let’s gasp together, date, I’ve been thinking about how I listen and process information so I can respond or react. What am I actually wanting to say?
I’m extroverted, but I also dabble in introversion periodically because being extroverted can be heavily exhausting – sometimes feels like a mask.
There are people who give us life and energy, and those who steal it. There is a balance – we also can give and take from others. We can’t always control how some impact us because we can’t control others, but we can try to create and enforce boundaries. I also prefer to engage on my terms instead of being forced into large group settings with a lot of noise.
Example: I love the idea of tailgating, but the ones I’ve been to, I end up people watching with my beer and bobbing around – listening to others and seeing how they flow through their bodies. I’m wiped out before we’ve even gotten to the game. But an open mic – I hated leaving at midnight, on a Monday after already being awake for 19 hours.
It’s just good timing that NaPoWriMo is happening now as I’m working to explore my needs and wants and how those can align with new friends and other. Because I can get in my own head and create visuals to problem solve, but that can also cause a spiral – maybe a really bad square dance where people actually misstep and bump into each other.
As I’m writing and challenging myself to be as authentically me – even when it’s uncomfortable and vulnerable (which is actually still hard for me, but important work nonetheless), I’ve learned that I remember voices of people who are important to me, so when I read text messages, I hear them being read to me. I can also visualize body language. This makes those connections interesting to say the least.
I also talk out loud when I write – like right now, as well as when I write poetry or text, I’m cognizant of tone and I think about how a message may land for the other person. I think about how I would say it when I’m with the person, what are my hands doing?
I knew I did this, but it’s fluid for me so I never paused to be present with the process. Being more present with it has helped me adjust because we all listen differently. Tone doesn’t land on everyone.
You might be (but may not) surprised to know that when I write a poem, I perform it while it’s being written, so by the time I perform it I’ve said it a few dozen times – hand gestures and all. I think about how it feels to say those words mentally, but also how they feel coming off my tongue.
Something I want to take with me throughout 2021 that I didn’t think about before is purpose: why are things or people in our lives and does this relate to language like ‘no’. Does this empower us and challenge us instead of hold us down or back – I’ll let you pick your direction. I don’t want to get bogged down by this, but as I write I think I may get some more clarity and that sounds like a relieving place to hang out and breathe for a while.
If you want to dabble with your own writing – see what relief it can bring or problems it can solve: check out these posts here and here and here. Also here are some prompts I’ve used this month:
- From the perspective of the kitchen table
- To do list format
- 3 things I know to be true
- Recipe format
- Begin with ‘we listen’
- Fate versus destiny