Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Manuscript a Month: A Summer of Poetry

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   ― Anaïs Nin

Poetry is my game. Always has been and always will be.

And for those of you that have been watching, I’ve been under a type of spell lately. For the past three months, I’ve been writing a manuscript every 30/31 days. That’s anywhere from 50-100 poems a month, and there’s a lot of factors that are influencing that. I’m in a unique point in my life right now and there’s a lot happening. Some stuff I can talk about, some stuff I can’t, but for me, poetry has always been the easiest way for me to communicate to myself and to you, my readers. So that’s why I chose to pour out a little more soul than usual lately.

Now everyone keeps asking me how I’m doing this, how I’m generating so much work and I’m sorry to say, but there is no trick of the trade. No deep, dark secret. I didn’t sell my soul—at least not for this—but as Edgar Allan Poe said, “I was never insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.” So on that note and in that respect, I suppose my answer is simply that  I write every day, not because I want to, or because I think it’s a good habit to have, but because I have to. When I tell people that poetry is cathartic, I stand by that full heartedly. I turn to poetry when I need to find God, when I need to relax, when I need to cry. Poetry has always been a type of medicine, a type of drug. It helps me sleep. It keeps me calm. It keeps me sane—unless we’re talking Hysteria. There’s always an exception for everything. The only difference lately is that I have a lot on my mind—too much on my mind—and the only way that I know how to sort through it, the only way I can decipher my feelings, is to write them all out. That, and I’ve found some pretty wonderful presses that only had their submission period open for a month.

So there’s that.

In tangent, I’ve been studying poetry for years, but I’ve been doing a kind of self-assessment and self-study lately, exploring and expanding my style and my voice. I had two projects specifically that I was finishing up—both horror—but the collection that I’m married to now is literary. It’s personal, it’s raw, and it’s me being myself, talking through my own words and experiences without a muse to hide behind. Is it any good? I have no idea. But I’ll be the first to admit that it’s much easier for me to build monsters and play with madmen than it is to face reality and write about what’s happening around me.

So I’ve turned to Bukowski, slept curled up next to Neruda, and I often spend time with Plath, and they’ve taught me about the self as subject, about not being afraid to love and not being ashamed to feel sad, lost, and confused. I’ve been reading their works for the past seven months, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to bleed on the page a bit. It’s okay not to hold back.

And so I’m not, and I didn’t.

I’m bringing Goth to literary, taking a stab at a new victim.

And it’s scary for me.

A new type of horror in its own way.