April 2016 will be all about poetry because I’m taking part in National Poetry Writing Month otherwise known as NaPoWriMo.
The premise is simple – write a poem a day in April. This may seem a breeze of a daunting task to some people. Over the past 10 years I’ve written more than 2000 poems.
This alone suggests I’m up to the task. I have about 12 poetry collections compiled and have had many poems published. NaPoWriMo should be a breeze? Right?
In the past I’ve written more poems in a week than I’ll need to write for NaPoWriMo in a month. However, I haven’t done this for at least five years. My poetry output is sporadic these days and I probably don’t even write 31 poems in a year let alone a month.
There is a story here so bear with me.
I wrote my first poem Nameless way back in January 2003 when I was in my twenties.
She fills my head with song.
The world fades
until she surrounds me.
I drown in her,
struggle to breathe.
My heart pounds.
A drum-beat fills my head,
my skin tingles and ripples.
I shudder at the sight of her.
What’s happening to me?
Why so I churn inside?
Butterfly’s flutter in my stomach.
My throat closes
and I can’t breathe.
I want to run my hands through her hair.
Her vibrant golden hair.
Her eyes filled with sunshine.
Her perfect soft lips.
My stomach’s in knots
at the thought of seeing her.
I’m giddy with anticipation.
I want to kiss her,
and taste her.
I want to smell her skin,
feel her inside me
and devour her.
What’s happening to me?
Why do I churn inside?
What can this possibly mean?
She’s the universe.
Copyright © 2007 by Pamela Scott
I started to write poems because some crazy stuff was happening in my life. I’d fallen hard for someone, a beautiful tomboy I used to see on my bus every day. I was a bit freaked out because I was attracted to a nineteen year old woman. Over a period of months I started to remember things I’d long-repressed about my past. To cut a long story short, I’d known I was queer, a lesbian, a gay woman, whatever since I was a teenager. Bad things happened and I refused to accept how I felt. I repressed my feelings so well that over time I didn’t even have a memory of them. Until a beautiful girl got on my bus and woke me up.
I’m sure you can guess the rest of the story? You’ve probably heard it before. I came out and my life changed forever. In a good way. I accepted myself, I was happy for the first time in years, I met the love of my life etc, etc, etc…
So where was I? Oh, yes, poetry.
I started to write poetry because I was freaking out about my feelings and the things I was remembering from the past. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was going through. I’m not good at the whole ‘sharing’ thing. I was afraid words would be inadequate to explain what was happening to me. I was afraid of cruel words and harsh judgement.
So I started to write poems.
I wanted to write about the huge emotional upheavals I was going through. I was experiencing things that changed my life forever and it seemed important to have a record of this. I’ve never been one for journal writing and didn’t think it would be a good idea to write fiction so poetry became my medium.
Over a period of two years I ate, slept, breathed and lived poetry. I wrote poems like my life depended it on. I wrote about my feelings for the beautiful woman on the bus, I wrote about my first time in a gay bar, my first sexual encounter with another woman, my first relationship with another woman, my first break-up, the first time I fell in love and everything in between.
These poems have been gathered in a soon-to-be-published collection called My Heart Laid Bare (do you see what I did there?).
Two years after I came out I met the love of my life and I’ve been happy ever since. I’ve not been happy all day every day like a cheesy Hallmark card. God no. But I’m happy at least once a day. Sometimes I’m so happy and content I make myself nauseous.
I wrote 85% of my poems when I was going through deep emotional trauma. I’ve been happy for ten years. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I’m taking part in NaPoWriMo because I want to unleash the poet inside me (Oh, God that sounds really cheesy!). I remember how much I enjoyed writing poems, finding the right image, the right sentence and the right mood. I sort of miss it so I’m challenging myself to be a poet again.
The only goal I’m setting myself is to write a poem a day. The length and subject matter isn’t important to me. I just want to get back into the habit of writing poems every day. This might be the best thing I’ve ever done. Or a bloody mess.
If it works out, I hope to compile the poems into a collection. If things go really well I hope to start writing poems more regularly. If things don’t work out there’s always next year.
Join my poetry journey in April. I’ll publish my poems on this website. These will be fresh drafts not edited or reviewed in any way. You can browse these using the NaPoWriMo 2016 category on the left.