I lost my writing, years ago, before I really knew what poetry was. I used to write about the things teenagers, lost in the woes of teenagerdom, write about. Then, I didn't appreciate the act of writing, I used it, as my own ever-ready whore. Then I met my first husband and dumped her like the whore I considered her. Too bad I didn't know then that I'd need her more than ever over the course of that marriage.
When I did rediscover writing, I treated it just as poorly. It took a long time to really appreciate poetry the way I do now, and I'm sure I have a long way to go, considering I've only just begun to disover contemporary poets who have already passed away. I'm afraid I'm still a bit hung on the old-fashioned beliefs regarding poetry, and I'm OK with that, which I'm sure will be my own poetic downfall.
I'd love to be a published poet. Of course I would, wouldn't I?
See, I don't want to just be 'published' at all. What I want, if I were to be honest, is to be famous. When I die, I want teenagers and unseasoned writers to discover my books after I die and re-evaluate their beliefs. If I'm going to be published, I want to be great. I can be mediocre in the comfort of my own livingroom thank you very much. So I suppose what I'm saying is that I want to be a poet. A Great Poet.
And I have little doubt that I'll never become that, because somewhere inside, I dread the idea of having the responsibility of being a great poet. I don't want to see my face at the bookstore, or have book signings where I shake hands and say nice things to strangers. I have no interest in speaking at any literary conventions, or writing poems on themes that some publisher chooses. I am selfish. I want to be great, but I don't want to lose my strangely comforting sense of anonymity. I'm a very private person, I don't like dealing with people I don't know, or kissing asses of people I don't like.
So many people tell me I'm so damn good. Maybe I am, I don't know, I lack the ability to be objective. Most poets worship every word they write, I am the opposite, I hate them all. I think of every poem I pen to be another bastard child I despise. They are a constant source of pain and embarrassment. And yet, I cannot stop giving birth.
Regardless of how I feel about my own work, I can't deny that others call me talented. What does that mean? The only people to comment on my work are considered friends. None of them tell me I suck -- and the only publisher ever to offer to publish me was a vanity press.
I will probably die not knowing whether I am right, or they are, and that's what bothers me I think.
The only real way to find out is to submit to publishers, which is to take the chance of becoming a mediocre published poet, because I know without a doubt that I'm not Great. I'm too shallow for that, or at least, my work is.
So instead, I sit, reasonably comfortable, among friends, and write.