I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that I’ve made the switch from poetry to humorous satire pieces. I’m havin’ a ball, y’all. Satire has been near and dear to me since I was a freckled youth embarrassing my mom at the grocery store, walking straight into other peoples’ shopping carts while reading Pride & Prejudice. I was the one weirdo in the back of my high school English class trying to hold in snickers and snorts because “COME ON GUYS, Catch-22 is uproarious and why isn’t anyone else appreciating this fact?” I’ve made a few half-hearted attempts to write my own satire but it always ended up on the back-burner because I’m just not that funny.
Fast-forward to last week: I’m a fabulous, classy lady performing my work at a coffee shop poetry reading (pff, the second half of that is true.) I’ve already been struggling and fussing with poetry in general because I’m just not sure I love it anymore. I don’t read publicly often but I’m there hanging with some friends already and I have a copy of Candy Pizza buried in the trunk of my car somewhere so I’m pretty much well-prepared.
Now, normally when I read I get a pretty average response- an attentive audience, polite claps, a couple people coming over to fist-bump me afterwards- but tonight I tell them I’m reading from my own book and, before I’ve even read one poem, the host offers me a feature spot at a future show. (Apparently a feature is when you get to hog up the stage for a night while you try to get people to buy your book.) The mood is different when I read, like people are listening harder, clapping longer, and I think even the old dude in the back is finally chewing with his mouth closed.
And I think to myself, “Here I am. I’ve arrived at poetry. And it’s because I published a book and they think that means I’m better than I normally am. And if I take that feature spot I’ll be IN with the poetry people and I’ll have to shake all their hands and recite the lyrics to “My Sharona” onstage in a Shakespearean accent for irony and giggles and say things like, ‘Don’t forget to tip your baristas!’ and I know I can’t do that because none of these people know that Poetry and I have been in the pre-breakup fighting stage for quite a while now and I just can’t make this my thing.”
That’s when I knew I was done with poetry. At least for now.
The thing is, I don’t trust a lot of people, but I trust me. I trust that if I feel done with poetry, no amount of forcing it is ever going to help. I trust that I’ll never let myself become so wrapped up in the parade of “being a writer” that I no longer write things I love. I trust that I’ll come back around to poetry sooner or later, when it feels right. And I trust that I actually am that funny.
It really doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks so, because I do. I crack myself up every day. The last couple of pieces I’ve written have had me giggling like some kind of devious lunatic and I love that. And the intent of satire is the exact same thing as what I’ve been doing with poetry or short fiction: to point out stuff about life and make people think about it. It’s just easier (and more fun, honestly) to reach people through humor rather than through their cheesy, rhyme-y, melancholy heartstrings.
I consider it a sign of a healthy mind to never be satisfied in any one area for too long. I’ll probably never be fully satisfied with anything, but I’ll be writing some great stuff along the way. (And by the looks of your comments and ‘likes’, I don’t think my lovely readers will mind the change too much.)
Stick around, loves, it’s gonna be good.