On the eve of OctPoWriMo2014, I sat in a Denny’s restaurant, reading from The Best American Poetry 2014. It is a carefully curated volume of poetry, each poem within a masterpiece among masterpieces.
It was later than I hoped it would be but the evening had run long and I had laughed and cried and sketched and written on-and-off throughout the day as I watched my grandson and fussed over my daughter and marveled at my son’s growing independence.
Finally, I sat down and read a poem of Erin Belieu, “With Birds.”
I have never heard of Ms. Belieu but reading her poem I immediately I felt kinship with her. She and I share interests, we share passion and I imagine as I come to know more of her words I will discover more synchronicity.
Immediately I felt swept up in gratitude.
This is one of the things the experience of poetry has become for me: a gleaning of gratitude for other poets from now and from the past, especially the ones as honored and revered as the ones in this collection I have now devoted to be my companion throughout OctPoWriMo2014.
That’s a big part of OctPoWriMo, afterall: companionship.
We choose to write 31 poems in 31 days.
We commit to the artform and to one another throughout the month.
We celebrate each stanza written.
We choose whether or not we continue and I like to think we celebrate both sides of that spectrum - that victory is not in writing daily or even completing 31 poems. The poetry victory is simply in showing up at the page with the poetry when you can with the intention of being present however that ends up looking to you when we sit here, a month from now, on the eve of November.
Maybe then it will be your turn to sit at Denny’s and be swept up in gratitude.
Let’s devote ourselves right now to love one another’s words, heart and especially one another’s showing up.
Some of us will blog and tweet and facebook and some of us will scribble in our notebook away from prying eyes and it is up to each and all of us to be with the each and all of the others.
Even in writing these words I am swept up in gratitude again.
It is the eve of OctPoWriMo2013.
-- Julie Jordan Scott