Yes, I’m Writing, Okay?
Tonight I went to hear Kim Dana Kupperman read from her critically acclaimed–and Carlita acclaimed–collection of essays, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings. I met Kim at State U about fifteen or so years ago, when we were both taking classes there. I looked up to her–she seemed so much more worldly and sophisticated than the rest of us. She was an exceptionally clear thinker and a talented writer. I ordered her book right away when it came out last summer, and I loved it. So I was really excited to go see her tonight.
She was very gracious. When she introduced me to the poet who was reading with her, she said, “Carlita is a poet, too.” A few minutes later she asked me the dreaded question, “Are you still writing?” The eternal question. On the one hand, when people I respect ask me that question, it reminds me that I used to be serious about poetry, and I was promising enough that people took me seriously. On the other hand, my answer is inevitably no, I’m not writing.
Last night the optimist and I went to hear one of my favorite poets, Carolyn Forche, read at a local bookstore. We had a conversation about my decades-long writer’s blog. The result, which I wrote about over on Whip My Assets, is a new experiment. I’m going to write a poem a day. And I’m going to put them on the internet. The idea is to hold myself accountable for thinking like a poet and to face down the fear of not being any good. How good can people expect you to be when you are banging out a poem a day? And how much vanity can you really maintain when you’re putting rough drafts of poems on the internet? But I figure, if I write something every day, something worthwhile has got to come of it.