The Pressure of Poetry’s Mass Consumption: How I’ve Been Dealing With It

The mass consumption of poetry put a pressure on me. Every day I would write or draft a poem. I repeated that routine almost all of summer. I came to slowly realize it was draining me of my creativity and confidence. I was producing poetry that was a waste of my time. All the things I was writing were terrible and the drafts I had accumulated I couldn’t complete. I realized my drafts were always just a long stanza I couldn’t find direction to. After staring at my draft for too long I convinced myself that it had potential, so I stayed up late trying to force it to find its end. When I would start seeing the sunrise through my window I realized these drafts had no purpose. That truth made me feel like a failure to my own craft. It wouldn’t let me fall asleep right away. Often throughout the day I found myself asking what I was doing wrong. I started becoming intimidated by the page. I couldn’t pick up a pen, type anything on word, or even think about what’s the next leap I wanted my poetry to gain.

It was a month ago that something suddenly changed within me. I began noticing how frequent my fear of writing something and challenging myself was becoming. I had to stop for a second and ask myself what was wrong out loud. After two minutes of asking myself what’s wrong I was able to voice out loud what the issue was. The issue was honesty. The writing I was forcing myself to produce over the summer was not honest. An integral part for me to feel fulfillment come to fruition in my writing relies on honesty. That component was shattered in the failed efforts I was putting to writing, writing, and writing away with no purpose in mind.

Honesty was part of the issue the other part was myself. I didn’t want to come to terms with things. Honesty meant accepting the experiences I am going through, went through, will go through, and writing about them in order to heal. I wasn’t ready to heal because I was still figuring out how to process, accept, and grow from all the challenges revolving my day to day life.

20150921_175321
After feeling angry with the lack of growth I was accomplishing with my writing I decided to tackle every issue I was afraid of being honest with on. This resulted with me writing on sticky post-it notes all the issues I didn’t want to face. In a matter of minutes half of my bed’s head-frame was filled with post-it notes with my issues. These post-it notes gave me a big reflection on what my current state of mind is. All the issues I wrote down at the moment inflict so much emotional pain on me. At the top of the post-it list is my mother’s health.

It felt uneasy at first deciding I was going to write about my mother’s health again. There were four post-it notes that I wrote in regards to that issue. One had false messiah, the other song, the third one had blood (x3) nose bleed, and the last one had mother. For two weeks I would just look at those post-it notes, while embracing and organizing my thoughts, feelings, and identifying my pain over them. It was agonizing but at the same time therapeutic. On the third week I drafted out a layout on what I wanted the central components of my poem to consist of.
20150921_175004
This step by step process and the amount of time it was taking for me to write wasn’t new to me. I had become unfamiliar with it. I stopped doing these things after I turned nineteen. It took a month for me to write a poem that had outstanding quality to me. I performed this poem at EastSide Poetry at The Daily Brew Coffee Bar in Montebello, California about a week ago. Whether the poem was successful to the audience I do not know. The important thing is that as an artist it was successful to me and that it was the best representation of what I currently am aiming for with my poetry. I cannot express to you enough how important it is for you to find your purpose. What is your purpose? Find your purpose. Every day I wake up reflecting on my purpose and asking myself if it’s still relevant to the person I need to be right now. If it’s not I find a way for my purpose to either change or adapt to who I am.

Advertisements

Moon Pixel’s Features for August

8/28/2015 Features for Moon Pixel

Jeffrey Graessley: resides in La Puente, CA. His debut collection, Dual Impressions, co-written with John Brantingham was published by Silver Birch Press earlier this year. He is also the author of the chapbooks Cabaret of Remembrance (2013) and The Old Masters (2015). Moreover, his recent discovery of the TV show Drunk History has given his life new meaning.

Robin Axworthy: is a native Californian who wandered off in search of adventure for many years before returning home in 1983. She has been writing since childhood in the interstices among growing up, marriage, child rearing, teaching, dancing, reading, and etc. She is currently writing poetry and fiction – still in the gaps, but more, now that she’s found the local poetry community.

The Red Pears: was founded in July 2014. Join us as they open up Moon Pixel this Friday night. Their genre of music is indie/alternative/elevator music. Band members include Henry Vargas: Vocals/Guitar, Jose Corona:Drums, and Juan Aguilar: Bass. All in all they’re just three dudes from El Monte making some noise. Show them some support and love by following their social media sites and liking their Facebook page @theredpears(Twitter) @the red pears(SoundCloud) @the_red_pears(Instagram)

Join us for another night at Moon Pixel open-mic at Half Off Books Whittier, CA at 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. story-tellers, magicians, poets, comedians, musicians (acoustic only) are welcome! Everyone has 3 minutes to perform on the open-mic list this month. We have three features this month so we’re keeping the time limit tight.

Explore Open-Mics: SHOUT! – Half Off Books Whittier, CA

Every artist struggles with the tension, nerves, and uncertainty one feels when going to a new venue for the first time to perform, but that is common, and it shouldn’t discourage an artist from opening up to the supportive community Uptown, Whittier is.

Half Off Books has created an engaged interest for local talent. Every month they provide a space that allows people to network with each other, but most importantly they have given birth to a safe atmosphere where people can inspire one another. Half Off Books is not only an exceptionally well run independent bookstore, but they are also the foundation that has built a dynamic, and diverse creative scene for local artists in Whittier.

Any artist neighboring in or near Whittier, California can build an audience and get feedback by attending an open-mic regularly. The best one to start off at is SHOUT! hosted by Eric Morago at Half Off Books. The beautiful thing about this venue is that this open-mic has no age discrimination. The local talent here ranges from third grade student to senior citizen. The performers that have performed at Half Off Books have been extraordinarily memorable in their own unique way.

SHOUT! happens every second Wednesday of the month and has been ongoing since 2011. Eric Morago has done a remarkably wonderful job hosting every month for the past four years. Half Off Books alongside Eric Morago have welcomed and supported many local poets, authors, musicians, comedians, story-tellers, and magicians. They are one of the many reasons why Uptown, Whittier is the ideal destination to visit. The key thing to understand is venues that provide a safe space for open-mics, as well as the hosts that run them are important, because they give rise to a healthy artistic community.

A healthy supportive community is crucial for an artist to evolve, which is necessary in order for them to succeed, because change is a big factor to growth. Change happens more easily when an artist feels they are in a safe supportive environment. This gives them the comfort to explore and experiment. An artist must show progress and the stages of improvement they have reached over time. To stay stagnant is not ideal and not an option. Every art form needs constant room for improvement. An artist must grow and keep growing. It’s an essential goal to reach and to always keep in mind. One must work hard over and over again. Practice helps one become the ideal image they feel best represents who they are. Artists change as they adapt and move through different stages of life. This is why in order for them to best represent themselves there is always constant work that needs to be put in. Being an artist isn’t easy and isn’t suited for everyone.

This is why attending open-mics allows an artist to get a good sense of who they want to become and who they are. It gives room for experimentation, for trail and errors, success, more errors, and success again. That is the cycle. It’s a beautiful one that can be very exhausting.

But there is one priceless reward that comes from performing after each and every open-mic. That is the moment that occurs when the artist realizes there is an audience out there meant for them. This happens when a stranger comes up to them and lets them know they connected emotionally to their work. That is a priceless moment.

Artists must understand there is an audience meant for them, let them find you, and look for them. Those who don’t follow and who don’t understand, let them go, keep on creating, and explore your horizons by attending a local open-mic near you.