Home » Other Writing » The End, A Miracle, and My Future

The End, A Miracle, and My Future

With a little less than three weeks left, my 365 Poetry Project is drawing to its completion. For me, it’s been done for a while, if only in my head. I won’t say that my heart isn’t in it anymore, because that’s not true, but it’s certainly been elsewhere of late. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t embarked on such a venture could ever fully understand the time, energy, sacrifice, and mental discipline that’s required to see it all the way through. It takes a lot out of a person. It has taken a lot out of me.

Writing a poem every day for a year is a lot like riding in Wonka’s great glass elevator: you must dare to push onward, higher and higher, hoping that you’ll burst out into a new, more scenic frame of mind, but you’re never really sure that you won’t just hit the ceiling and be shredded into ribbons. It’s always a possibility.

I would never want to push myself so hard and so fast that I took the joy out of the ride. I have struggled with the temptation to stretch myself to 500 days, or even 1,000, just to make sure nobody else would ever top my feat. I have no doubt that I could do it- I could write a poem every day for the rest of my mortal life, I’m certain of Β that. But how many of them would I love? How many of them would I even remember? Would I go so far as to force myself into a life of rigid obedience for the sake of breaking a record, risking diminished quality for the sake of sheer overwhelming quantity?

No, 365 poems must be the cutoff, and in less than three weeks the project will end. But lest I be tempted to get sentimental about it, I am proud to point out that it has not been in vain, not in any respect. The mental, emotional, and spiritual growth I have experienced has changed me monumentally for the better, but more than that I have brought to fruition a childhood dream that I only halfway ever really believed I would achieve: I have written an anthology.

Candy PizzaΒ is the essence of my soul in book form- over 30 of my most cherished poems, given the proper care and meticulous editing they deserve. These are the poems I hand over to friends and family when they ask what my deal with poetry is, the poems I read to myself in low moments when I need reassurance, the poems I feel have something to say and say it well. These are the poems I wouldn’t be ashamed to know that somebody paid for. They are my very best.

The book should be available within the next couple of weeks- my hope is before the end of the project. I have learned a great deal about self-publishing, mainly that it’s easier than you’d imagine but still a lot harder than you’d wish for. I’m still ironing out the kinks, but the lengthy processing time is just evidence of how much love I’ve put into it. I don’t have any children, but this is the closest thing I’ve got. This is my miracle.

Far be it from me to inundate my readers with shallow attempts to hawk a product, those same readers who have given me support and encouragement literally from Day 1. I have enjoyed creating art for you and receiving your praise, thanks, advice, and empathy all along the way. That in itself is payment enough.

But in order to publish, one must sell copies, that’s just the way it works. And as a young, single teacher who badly needs a new car (wink, wink) I would ask that if my poems have touched your heart, wrung out a strong reaction, or just given you something to chew on, please consider purchasing a copy to add to your home library. (And uh, pass it along to all your big fancy book-publisher friends!)

So that’s it then- I drag you along on this poetry journey, ask you to buy my book, and then drop off into obscurity, right? Not exactly. One of the reasons I decided against lengthening the project is that I’ve been given an exciting opportunity that I’d like to throw as much of my energy into as possible. I’ve been asked to teach a writing class for the 6th and 7th grades at my school (in addition to the Library, Spanish, and Math classes I also teach -_-) But of course, writing is very special to me and I want to do justice to the young minds in my care. Growing up, I didn’t have any teachers who were particularly enthused about teaching writing, and I was all but left to discover a passion for it on my own. I believe I have a responsibility, if only in my own mind, to foster and encourage a love of writing in the next generation, however small my influence may be.

I do not intend to abandon this blog, though I cannot promise daily involvement as I’ve become used to. But I can promise that I will never stop writing, come what may, and that if you check back every so often, I’ll still be churning out bits and pieces, poems, stories, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Perhaps one day you’ll see some of my work in your favorite magazine, or on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (a girl can dream, right?)

I will leave you with a word of encouragement: whatever your Wonkavator may be, ride it all the way to the top. When you crash out into the open sky, write a book about it and then go find another one πŸ™‚

With love and thanks always,
Char

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35 thoughts on “The End, A Miracle, and My Future

  1. I’ve followed your daily poems, rarely (very rarely) commenting. You have a wonderful, natural gift. You’re right in stopping at 365. My blog is A Story a Day, and after 365 stories, I decided to go for another 6 months. I’ve long finished (they’re all in waiting) but the heart has fallen out of it. Congratulations on a wonderful (and quality) achievement! and good luck (or is it break a leg?) for your writing teaching.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Bruce πŸ™‚
      I’m trying to avoid burnout as best as I can, so I won’t continue this same project, but I’m sure I’ll be off down the road on another crazy venture soon enough!

  2. Absolutely LOVE this!! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious. A sincere congratulations for all your success. I promise that once published, I will personally purchase at least 10 copies and give them to friends as gifts. I know the hard work that goes into each and every line, the emotion you expose to the world, the vulnerability you feel after you hit that publish button. You are very inspiring, and I can’t wait to see the final, finished project. I’m sure it’ll be a masterpiece. Again, congratulations on a very tough job, very well done.
    ~Kate
    PS Please let us all know when your book is available to purchase. I know with Amazon, the first 500 (or maybe it’s 200) copies are free, just to see if you have an audience. I don’t want a free copy. I want 10 copies that will be paid for in full. πŸ™‚

    • Wow!! Thanks for the support, Kate πŸ™‚
      You’re right- it has been a lot of hard work, but at the same time so fulfilling. I’m not out to sell thousands of copies, but knowing that at least a few of them will be in good hands is enough for me!

  3. I’ve been thinking about publishing a book of poems for awhile now. I get so panicked about numbers and if anyone will read, that I’ve been hesitant to continue with it. Could we talk about how you’ve gone about it (publishing wise) and how you didn’t give up? Good luck by the way. πŸ™‚

    • Of course! As soon as it’s finished I’ll be posting some things about my self-publishing journey, with some helpful tips.
      But I would say, don’t even worry about how well it will sell. Just do it because you want to, don’t be afraid! Even if the only copies I ever sell are to my mom, it’s the experience and the milestone that count!

  4. Congratulations ~ you are a kindred spirit and will definitely want my own copy of Candied Pizza. I have saved a few favorites in my personal Charlotte file and will look forward to see if any of those end up in your book. Speaking of next adventures, as you nurture your students to the discovery of their own inner depths, I thought it would be interesting to see a few of their own poems published on your blog. A thought. Blessings ~ Amen :Y

    • That’s so awesome that you save the ones you like, I never thought that anybody would like them that much! It’s very humbling, to say the least. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some of my students’ masterpieces in the near future!

  5. I’ve only been on board for a few days, but I must say I’m impressed. A poem a day is no mean feat, and to have stuck to it like this is a real sign of true willpower. Well done, and I do hope you stick around and drop a line every now and then. Good for you.

  6. I’m sure this is a silly question, but would you say your writing has improved because of this challenge? Knowing what you know now, would you do this challenge all over again, or would you do it differently? Did you ever feel so exhausted by this everyday posting that you progress was hindered in any way?

    Your blog is lovely, and your poetry is lovelier. I’m excited for your book!

    • Absolutely it has. I’m constantly challenged to come up with something new, some form or topic or technique I haven’t used yet. And with a growing list of things I feel I’ve already covered, that just means I have to dig deeper to always be evolving. Some of my early stuff was new and exciting to me back then, but I wouldn’t write about it today because it’s cliche to me now. Been there, done that.
      If I had the chance to go back and do it again, I would. And I’d do it exactly the same way, no regrets. I’m all about the growing process, and that’s precisely what I’ve done- grow at a pace that was authentic and meaningful to me.
      Yes, at times it has been positively exhausting. There are days when I’m racking my brain at 11:30pm because I’ve put it off and put it off all day. But pushing through the challenges of writers’ block and the pressures of everyday life has been extremely rewarding.
      One of the best rewards has been a heightened ability to analyze other people’s poetry. Where once I would’ve been confused about a particularly tricky style, I can now look at the poem through my eyes as a poet, how I might’ve written it, and go “Ohhhh I get what they’re trying to do.”
      Thanks for reading and your interest in my process. Are you thinking of doing something similar? I would highly recommend it.

      • I would love to, but I know I would burn out well before the end. I don’t think I could handle the expectation of doing something that long! Maybe a shorter challenge, like a month.

        Don’t be like me, though! You can do it!

  7. First of all, thank you for the follow. Now, thank you for the inspiration and the encouragement! πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen the first of your poetry, but after this post I am positive that it has been an all encompassing journey you’ve taken and I cannot wait to read some of your work.

    I also love your layout, by the way!

    Cheers!

  8. Wow! Huge congratulations- wish I had found you at the beginning of your inspirational journey but I am enjoying going through your poems now. Well done!

  9. Thanks for looking at my blog, even if it was only a peek! The very few things that I have read on yours are incredible; I will have to spend a lot more time reading previous posts/poems!
    It sounds as if you have a very exciting future after this challenge
    πŸ™‚

  10. Char, thank you for following my blog. I’m just learning of your past year’s project and all of the work you’ve put into it. I’d be very interested to read your upcoming anthology Candy Pizza. Haha it sounds like a clever title and I’m sure with this year’s project you’ve got some gems that you created in poetry. will have to keep an eye on your dates for its release. Talk soon.

    -Soul

  11. Wow – The 365-ers seem to be a growing tribe! I admire your dedication, and I’m sure you’ll reap the rewards of this project for along time to come! Good luck with your anthology πŸ™‚ .

  12. Congratulations, Charlotte. It is a lot of hard work, but well worth it even if only for your own satisfaction. Please update when the book is available. I would be very interested . . . and I may even write a review!

  13. Charlotte, thank you for looking in on my blog. A poem every day for 365 days, I can only say, wow, and congratulations. Best of luck with you’re book. I really like your bio. Admitting to be content with what you have is something you don’t hear very often. It’s a nice change in a sea of angst.

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