Sunday, September 7, 2014

OctPoWriMo: How did poetry become a part of your life?


Tiny view shaken
Wondering how it all works
Pen guides my journey

It all started when I was 12 years old. I met a boy. It was a week-long romance, probably the longest week in history. I have no science to back that up, just the remembered feeling of summer’s heavy humidity and the intensity of burgeoning feelings. I didn’t know what to do with them all. I’d had crushes before, but hadn’t ever liked a boy like this.

So I wrote a poem.

One poem turned into two poems.

This started me on the path of writing poetry all the time. A pen and paper became a permanent fixture in my life. Whether I was down, confused, happy, curious, or just wanting to explore my imagination, I felt a need to scribble it all down. I'd written short stories before, but this was different. More personal. 

Mom bought me a journal with its rose covered hard cover. The pages were in different colored sections pink, light blue and lilac. They were soft to the touch and smelled almost like roses. I wrote in that thing constantly. I counted on its flimsy lock to keep my secrets at bay. It was so well-used, month's into owning it, the cover fell off. I was so sad when that happened. 

The next year, my English teacher asked us to keep journals in steno pads. I could flip the cover to the back of the book and not damage it. I was sold. That's where my poetry lived. 

Here I am still writing poetry in steno pads trying to understand the world around me, and my role in it.

Do you remember why you started writing poetry? How old were you? Do you write your poetry in a special place? 



Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. She shares poetry and short stories on her blog PenPaperPad, is a contributing writer for the online ‘zine Lefty Pop and writes articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is editor for an upcoming poetry journal collaboration, and hosts #writestuff TweetChat where writers talk about writing. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathmagician.

13 comments:

  1. I can see you with your steno pad writing away! Thank you so much for sharing these memories with us! Happy to have you along for this journey!

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    1. I'm glad to be here Morgan! I can't wait for October.

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  2. It was at Summer School at Caen University. I was 70, first excitig experience of what Americans would call college, and the course was French. The tutor explained about haiku, so I wrote my first ever poem in French:

    Le bebé est né
    Tout neuf, tout rouge, sans cheveux,
    L'espérance de tout.

    (The baby is born, new, red, bald; The hope of everyone.) I was hooked.

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    1. Wow, Viv, I didn't realize the first time you wrote a poem you were 70. That is fantastic! Gives me hope that I will still be learning new things in this second half of life. Thank you for sharing!

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    2. Poetry became a part of my life while I was in the Eight Grade, when my English Teacher (Mrs. Sydney) would spend a quarter focusing on reading and writing poetry. I would get into poetry then, and my teacher had told me that she did not see me come alive in class until we started studying poetry (me being the shy and quiet student), and she told me to keep on writing, so I never stopped. That following summer, I would go through my Aunt's book collection and read the poetry of Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni so I could learn from them. - Leslye

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    4. Viv, wow, it has such a better flow in French. I need to learn more.

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    5. Leslye: Isn't it wonderful when teachers key into a student that way? I love that she noticed your interest and encouraged it.

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  3. I love this! The stacks of steno pads I had... Now I write everything on they computer. I have a leather bound journal that I carry to jot down ideas or lines. I use my phone to record as well. But I still have a huge binder full of all the dark poetry I started writing in high school.

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    1. I wish I still had my poetry from middle school to high school. One year when I was moving, I decided to purge myself of all of my old writing and "start over." Even as I was doing it, I had a feeling that I would regret it. ::sigh:: So stubborn.

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  4. To my shame, I can't remember my first poem, but I know that poetry was part of my life from a very young age, in books and things, especially A.A. Milne. I probably started writing poems quite young - once I could write with some degree of ease, I expect.

    YAY for OctPoWriMo - CAN'T WAIT :D

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    1. I'm so glad you're going to join Lizzi. I'm excited!

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    2. Hi, Tamara! Loved reading about your start in writing poems! And your comment about tossing out your early ones...I know the feeling...why oh why did I throw out my early writing...:( Also, thank you for visiting my blog to see my poem for the OctPoWriMo ...'teleportingweena'...I appreciate it very much!

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