“I am a poet”

I’m sure I’ve said this more than once before, but I’ll say it again: I love music. So much that I wonder why I’m not interested in being a musician. My oldest memories of music involve family movie nights and my dad trying to teach himself “Linus and Lucy” on the piano. Now I get absorbed in music while stocking shelves at work; while my sister (who is also very self-taught) sings Lukas Graham’s “7 Years”, bringing our family’s piano back to life. It’s always played a major role in my life, and stirs up old feelings and memories unlike anything else.

The excitement I get from listening to music is what I’ve longed to experience in my writing again. This past week’s writing exercise helped me find it. Writing to a song was perfect, since music is a huge inspiration to me. I remember reading something years ago about how an author (I think it was Gail Carson Levine) loves struggling to find just the right words for her books. That’s something I’ve always wanted. And this exercise gave me a chance to see what it’s like. It felt like a puzzle that had to be solved with creativity.

Like music, there’s something in writing poetry that I haven’t found elsewhere. There’s a kind of curiosity I get. It’s this realization that there are still things my mind is capable of doing that I don’t know yet. I’ve noticed before how I can learn something about a person through their writing, but I never knew the things I could learn about myself as I write. Poetry has a special way of showing me what I don’t know.

I’ve never really considered myself a poet. Fiction has always been what I want to work with most, and the title “poet” sounds to me like something I can’t possibly earn. There’s a weight to it I can’t quite explain. I still plan on publishing novels someday, but I’ve realized I can’t push poetry aside. I love it. I just keep forgetting it. I need to remind myself every so often. This would be my answer to the question of what would make me feel more like a poet: acknowledging it myself. Believing others when they tell me I’m a poet. Hearing people call me that gives me a little confidence boost. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. So whenever I doubt myself (which happens frequently), I think I should also be one to remind myself that I am a poet.

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