Over the last few years of writing poetry, I always wanted to write about BIG emotions. Simple, everyday scenes held no interest for me. I wanted emotions that would punch you in the face with a flaming fist.
This worked out super well for me as the last few years have been filled with nothing but BIG emotions that I have struggled with one by one. I have gone through through depression, hypomania, body dysmorphia, imposter syndrome, healing from physically and emotionally damaging events, coming to realizations about childhood abuse I experienced, and struggling with my identity.
My most productive era was also one where I was using my writing to help work through everything I was experiencing. But now…
Things are calmer. I have some stuff figured out (not all of it, obviously). I’m hurting less and don’t need to record my pain to learn or mend from it. But when I go to write a poem these days, everything seems so trivial. I used to write about the worst feelings I experienced at the bottom of the deepest pits. Now, I consider writing about a new dress I like, or my joy at arranging a dinner party.
One of the best things I did recently to combat this was completely by accident. I read a poetry collection from Alice Walker entitled Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth. In this book, Walker explores a variety of topics, including the joys found of everyday life. There’s something so calming and centering about her work. I read it with a sense that art can be small emotions, small instances, even vivid dreams. And there’s beauty in this.
While I will always be capable of BIG emotions, I think it’s time for me to truly explore another aspect of poetry. I think it’s time to make things a little smaller, a little calmer, a little more accurate to my current experiences.