Cheating with NaPoWriMo

National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) came along at the perfect time for this blog.  I’m using it to cheat.  Let me explain.

I made a pact in March that I would stop making excuses for not following my dream of becoming a writer.  I do have a good ones like working 50+ hours a week and being dirt tired and brainless when I get home everyday.  But I put myself in a little self-tough-love-hold and created a blog with the intent to write something, anything, no matter how bad – everyday.  I created a pseudonym for numerous reasons:  I’m a wimp; I love my paying job working with youth and don’t want third parties confusing artistic license and political views I might express with how sincere and passionate I am about helping youth succeed; I don’t want some of my family or even friends to see this side of me … yet … especially since I think some of it is no-talent mush.

But then I hit writer’s block.  I tried to jog my creativity by reading around and discovered NaPoWriMo and the challenge to write a poem every day this month.  I’ve got notebooks full of poetry.  So I am taking the easy way out until I can get back on track with my … other stuff.  But I feel I need to explain why I call this cheating.

To me (don’t be offended my poet friends), poetry is like telling a non-painter to create something, so he does it by pouring paint cans over his naked body and rolling on the canvas.  Nothing particular skillful about that, but he’s certainly provided something personal and interesting when he’s done.  He cheated.  Unlike great painters, he ignored style and form.  He’s no expressionist; his work doesn’t adhere to cubism, realism, surrealism, or impressionism.  Perhaps there’s an argument for Pollock-esque “action painting” but let’s be clear – I like his stuff, but I think Jackson Pollock cheated a little too.

Still, when this non-painter is done, he’s submitting to the world a product of his stripping down to his most vulnerable self, stepped out of his comfort zone, to provide something marginally worth seeing.  No one will probably stand in front of the final product and stare at the thing for long like a Monet, Kandinsky, Degas, Cezanne, or even Picasso.  But his work is still worthy of a glance or two, and certainly someone will no doubt find in it colors that click in their minds and really love it.

That’s poetry for me.  I don’t worry about form usually.  It captures the fragments that are in my skull and I don’t have to make any sense of it like with prose.

So I’m cheating with poetry this month.  And much of it comes from years ago when I was a wet-behind-the-ears punk and life was full of drama.  If you like my other stuff, keep checking back because it’s my true love.  When it returns I will continue planting it here.

Composition VII—according to Kandinsky, the mo...

Composition VII—according to Kandinsky, the most complex piece he ever painted (1913) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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One thought on “Cheating with NaPoWriMo

  1. Pingback: Poetry versus Prose (Act One) | inturruptingcow

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