Friday, June 7, 2013

When I first started writing "seriously," as they say, it was because I just loved poetry. I was overwhelmed by discovering something *new* by feeling part of something through simply reading, and then having that feeling enhanced through writing *into* it. I couldn't not write, and I wrote every day, thought about writing every day. Read every day. I didn't see beyond this bubble--there was nothing like ambition, or career, or publication or anything on my mind at the time.

I guess, two or three years into it, I began to meet other writers, both domestic and foreign, as it were. Both classmates and students, both "IRL" and through the internet machine. I got to go a few places where I met others. I edited some journals, participated in a way that only strengthened my love of this thing. Through writing and reading, I had also found a community, the particular aspects of which sometimes eclipsed the love of the words in the first place.

And then. And then, I don't know what. I don't know what happened. I know a lot of what didn't happen. I watched a lot of that community disperese, move on, people whom I had published and thought I was friends with, people I had worked with, people who had championed my work, and so forth, weren't there any more. And I wasn't there for them.

And then I wasn't writing. I was reading very little. A different sort of life took over--work, family.

Then that stopped happening.

Today, in the early summer of 2013, I still see my old friends, my old colleagues, my old community members, publishing their third and fifth books, getting tenure here or there, being "famous" in a way that is, you know, not really "famous" but "poetry famous," which means, I suppose, a few people read your stuff, and you get awards sometimes, and you get to teach college kids sometimes, and you get a paycheck, and you're still in this community that we all used to be in together.

And when the imaginary interlocuter asks me how I feel to have almost been a part of something that I am no longer a part of, how it feels to have lost this community, how it feels to see my former mates being "poetry famous" and having happy families with children and nice things and bookshelves, while I am for the most part, homeless--

I can't really answer in any way that seems intelligent. I just shrug. I'm like, uh. Yeah.

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