As usual, I’m not happy unless I have something to worry about. So naturally, I’m wondering about the subtleties between editors, writers, and poets.
As you know from previous posts, I started writing poetry when I was a teenager. I tried for years to get my poetry published but was always greeted with a rejection slip.
Since I had never been published, I decided to face the fact that maybe my poetry was crap. Soon, I seemed to have little or nothing to say, no ideas. Maybe I was immature and needed to live life a little more, I told myself. So I stopped writing poetry almost completely, except for the fits and starts here and there in futile attempts to resume where I had left off.
My latest reincarnation as a poet seems to be real and sustainable. So what’s the difference this time? Well, as an editor of a nonfiction, niche publication who also happens to write for the magazine, my work is published on a regular basis. It’s not poetry, but publication is now a mountain I have climbed. Also, I make a point of saying that I both edit and write because I believe these are two distinct skills. I know brilliant editors whose writing is an unorganized, illogical mess, and writers who have no editorial judgment.
So am I an editor who can write or a writer who can edit? Well, I can say that editing is easier than writing but that writing is more satisfying. When I edit an article, I consider whether the author of the piece is saying what she or he intends to say. I really identify with the writer, I think, because I am a writer first and foremost.
So where does being a poet fit in? I’ve written some fictional short stories and have bits and pieces of writings as part of a novel I started. I would definitely like to explore those avenues even further. But right now, I’m much better at capturing the story of the moment, voicing thoughts so fleeting as to be almost imperceptible.
For now, I think I’m a poet who writes.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.