I was the best flutist in my elementary school for two and a half years–4th grade through 6th. Sadly, in the 7th grade, my reign came to an end; I was challenged, and lost, and sent packing to second chair.
At first, I thought it was because the girl who beat me was more talented–gifted–and I was deficient. But in truth, it was because I never, ever practiced–and she did.
It took me many years to understand that simple truth about those who excel and those who are left behind. Those who keep going, who keep writing, who keep practicing their instruments, who keep making foul shots or whatever it is they love doing–they’re the ones who succeed. Those who stop, don’t.
I started Bits of Poetry in 2014 to write to the poem.
Bad poem. Good poem. It didn’t matter.
I didn’t enjoy playing the flute, even though I continued playing to the 12th grade, but it wasn’t a total loss. Through it, the opening of a musical door, I learned enough to find my real love, the piano. And then, the guitar. Playing either one of them isn’t a chore, like the flute was. Playing them is a gift, and the real gift is the love of them. I knew I loved music, started an imperfect journey toward music, and found my musical soulmates.
And it’s not about playing perfectly. Far, far from it. Rather, it’s the enjoyment I get from one note, two notes, one chord, one measure. The same goes for writing. I love the written word and, eventually found my way to the poem. I love the poem. Every imperfect part of it.
If I can write towards a poem and find one good line, it feels so good. Just one line, like one solid measure of a song. Eventually, maybe two lines, and so on.
All of this is to say, in 2019 I’m re-dedicating myself to the original idea: write, write, write. It’s not about perfection, it’s about continuing on with what I love. Resist the temptation to be discouraged, but more importantly resist the temptation to be a helicopter mom to my baby poems. They will survive and grow up as long as I keep nurturing them with an open floodgate of words, honesty, observation, respect, and love.
I hope you all continue to do the same.