Friday, December 27, 2013

A Poem a Week, a Short Story a Month, a Novel a Year

I'm going to doom myself and make a New Year's resolution.

This year for Christmas, I wrote short stories and poems for as many family members as my (limited) mental fortitude would allow. Some were funny, some were sad, some were sentimental. I wrote with everything from The Weepies to the Diablo II soundtrack playing to set the right mood. My body of work hasn't been this large and varied since my senior year, and I find my sudden prolific-ness intoxicating. I want to keep it up.

The poems were without a doubt the biggest stretch for me. Until recently, I had no interest in them whatsoever. Then I read a collection of poems by Keith Douglas, a soldier/poet from World War II. It was good. After I wrote a poem or two or my own, I read the collection again. It was really good.

I also discovered that writing a poem isn't nearly the massive time-sink that a novel is, which is A GINORMOUS RELIEF when I really want to accomplish something before work but can't dedicate the time and energy that I want to The Novel, or when I'd rather think about cookies than swordfights that day.

To further supplement my education, I've ordered this book, the intense study of which will surely reveal to me just how awful my first attempts actually are (and make me love Stephen Fry even more):

Now I know I just said my poems suck, but I'm thinking about sharing them here anyway. At first I was hesitant. For one thing, I tend to avoid spewing my noobsauce all over the Internet for fear of future embarrassment. For another, following submission guidelines and negotiating contracts can often get much trickier when blog posts become a factor. 

But then, I have no delusions aspirations of becoming a famous wealthy poet. Mainly because they don't exist, but also because unlike my novel writing, I have no desire to treat my poetry like a business. I am making observations, not a product to sell. I doubt anyone would ever want to give me money for my observations anyway, on account of my being a nobody, and after all, a blog is an ideal place for no one of interest to comment on nothing in particular. 

So that's my goal for 2014: try my best to write a poem a week, a short story a month, and - please, please God help me - finish the second draft of The Novel by next Christmas.