Though I mostly write science fiction and fantasy now, when I started I produced a very different kind of story.
I haven’t done much on poetry for a while, so it was something of surprise when I sat down and wrote two poems in one night. I usually have to be in a particular mood for my poems to be anything worth showing.
For me, poetry is something of a cathartic release, a way for me to decompress from all the emotions within. I can get that part of my mind out on a page, good or bad, and look at it from the outside.
You can do it too, if you’d like. Poetry is beautiful because it belongs so specifically to a person. It doesn’t have to be good by the standards of anyone but yourself. Poetry tells an emotional story, pulling us through the thoughts and experiences of another as we read it.
Writing poetry is a way of analysing your emotions from an external viewpoint. So many of us are good at giving advice, but frequently fail to follow it ourselves. It’s easy to see another person for who they are, but so much harder to truly understand yourself. The way I think of it is that there is no mirror for your soul.
This is a large part of the reason that we can see so much good in others, but frequently look down on or admonish ourselves. It’s natural to second-guess yourself, of course. It’s natural to worry if you’re doing things right. Yet, when we look at everyone else, they all seem like they have their life stitched together just right.
We feel like failures. What we don’t see is the way that others view themselves. Many of them are breaking apart beneath a veneer of calm. Many of them are frantic on the inside, wondering what to do, where to go. If anything, the majority of us are aimless. What makes us so wonderful and special as a species is our restlessness, our ceaseless urge for something new.
Poetry is just another example of our failure because, no matter how much I write, nothing ever seems good enough. I can capture some portion of my emotions, some portion of my feeling, of the sense it is to feel what I feel. When I write happy poetry, I find that the page lacks that little bit of light. When I write sad poetry, it never captures that gloom, that depth of melancholy.
But it helps. It really does. Every little bit that I do for my emotional health and well-being helps, regardless of how short it may fall. Humans are complex, and so there are rarely simple solutions to our problems. I would say inspiration is one of the hardest things to come by, which means if you’re writing you’re already halfway there.
That applies to anything we do for ourselves, though. Exercise helps a lot, too. It’s not just an act of physical health, but of mental health, too. Even the smallest bit can make a difference. You could walk to the station in the morning, or run around your yard with a pet for ten minutes. Every little bit helps.
As I mentioned earlier, humans are restless by nature. We need an outlet for that energy, for that desire for movement and change in our lives. Everyone has a good outlet somewhere in their lives.
Perhaps soon I’ll have some poems up here. Perhaps I won’t. What’s important is that I’m doing something. You don’t have to do much, after all. Just move a little. A little motion in your life can cure a lot. I’ve got my writing. What will YOU do?