Friday, April 2, 2010

Poetry Friday and Some Self-Reflection

Did you ever notice how the very thing you need often turns up right when you need it? Okay well that only sometimes works. Normally when I'm not expecting it. I didn't realize that I needed the poem I'm posting today until I read it. I've been reading through Louisa May Alcott's short stories when I'm on my lunch hour. I'm not sure why I chose her stuff but most of the stories have been enjoyable. The one I started yesterday was not. But included in the story was the poem below. And it stopped me in my tracks.

I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty;
I woke, and found that life was Duty.
Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?
Toil on, sad heart, courageously,
And thou shalt find thy dream to be
A noonday light and truth to thee.

by Ellen Sturgis Hooper

Other than the poor rhyme between Lie and ly, I instantly loved this poem. It is a wonderful reminder that work is its own reward. I often get discouraged with writing. I write a story and the moment I'm finished want to tear it up, claiming that it is no good. I put pressure on myself to write only good publishable stuff and my brain rebels. It shuts down and doesn't write anything. Then I feel bad because I'm not writing.

What gets me is that I used to write constantly. I would spend hours with a pen in my hand. I often wonder what happened. And yesterday I figured it out. What I'd forgotten is it was the simple act of writing that I loved. I've always loved the act of creating, even without the possibility of publishing. I've loved the idea of making up my own stories, of meeting my own characters. So last night I sat down and wrote. A story. And I enjoyed every moment of it. I'll never publish it, heck I'll never show it to anyone. But I wrote and had a good time with it.

Like the quote below from poet Marge Piercy, this poem is one that will sit on my writing desk, reminding me that I can write and create without any reward other than joy.

“The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.”-- Marge Piercy

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