I had to write an essay for my publisher. The question to be answered was "What made you start writing?"
Now I'll be honest, I procrastinated with it. I'm not so very motivated to write essays - I don't think I'm very good at them either. But I wrote it, finally, and sent it to her via email yesterday. I guess I'd have given myself a B- on the results. It was nothing to make your jaw drop or to make you read it more than once, but it did answer the question, grammar and spelling were correct, it was ok as far as technicalities go. I just wasn't impressed - but it did get me to thinking about why I write, which is a whole other subject than what made me start writing.
As I wrote the essay, it followed a timeline from what made me start writing as a young girl (catharticism) to what keeps me writing, and the reason my writing has improved since the days of Q-tip clouds and storm-swept souls. And I began, after I finished, to realize that my writing exists at all because of the internet. I had long since put down the pen, forgotten about poetry and my love of writing. It was one of those things that I gave up for adulthood, until I discovered the massive online poetry community. I owe a lot to the people I've met online. There have been so many to teach me - first the crude points such as the importance of grammar (tense shifts were a big obstacle for me a few years ago) to the use of poetic devices, such as symbolism and metaphor.
So I wound the essay up with a statement on how the reason I kept writing was because I have received so much encouragement and support from online poets. The crazy thing is, all of a sudden I find myself trying to join the world of offline poetry, and realizing that it's a whole different world. One I may have to spend a few years learning from and assimilating into. One that may just teach me how much jackshit I don't know.
Poetry. It's an education.