And now for a temporal portal into my most explosive poetry-writing phase: age 18-23. After I dropped out of university, I took a couple of creative writing courses online — part of the ‘I will eventually add up to a degree’ show I put on for my parents. I enjoyed the poetry writing course namely for the amount of poems I produced through it. If I developed a profound appreciation for poetry in its many forms, this was purely accidental. Most likely I did not. I knew poetry wasn’t my strong suit, but there were so many contests for it! So many submission possibilities! My novels came first, but never back then would I shy from squeezing in potentially attention-getting projects, so long as I could wrap my head around them.
After the course, I pushed myself to write more poems in an attempt to keep the momentum going. I looked up poetry contests just for the prompts and discovered that my favourite way to get an idea was the ‘use all these words in a poem’ prompt. The following poem was one of these (although I couldn’t tell you now which words were the prompts):
Artists Among Us
Who to blame? How to win?
Artists descended: mad, fearful things
Fear they won’t belong, or worse: they’ll fit in.
Sorted and labeled like one of their paints.
Horror! To what measures will this town have to suffer
Their brain-happy pleasures? Inspirational cravings…
What if rust and mold’s more fun to draw?
In their field they say, the work is a child—
“My baby,” they say.
With descendants as these,
We may set our minds at ease,
Surely, they’ll soon be extinct.