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Reluctant Poet, Sod it I’m 50 now & out of the closet

Oh the shame
For many years I hid the fact I wrote poetry, even from fellow writers. Why? My shame stemmed from the thought I wasn’t doing it right: my iambic pentameter was bound to be all wrong, my rhythm none existent, my rhyme cliché. I quivered in fear of collective poetic outrage. Instead I secretly sent work off to collections and quietly attended readings. No-one was more surprised than I was when my writing got accepted several times. But still, I refrained from openly mentioning my habit to all but a select few I felt would keep my secret safely stashed.

The evidence

Then I turned 50 and suddenly I didn’t care. Older friends told me this would be so but I doubted their wisdom. I realised I truly didn’t care. About a whole list of things.
Grey hair
Hairy legs
Nail polish
Perfectly arched brows
Voicing my opinion freely

See how I snuck that one in there. The very day I turned 50 I began to sound remarkably like my mother. I waited for this thought to horrify me and discovered I felt rather pleased instead. I have some family scowling and muttering at this point: “Do we really need another know-it-all familial advisor?” But there are also a great deal of friends who knew my mum who are clapping, whooping and wolf whistling at this point.   So I thought #*%k it. I’m going to come out of the closet about my poetry habit too.

Never one to hesitate once I’ve made a decision, I instantly posted some of my poetry on my blog and even took some to my writing group. I’ll admit I was nervous about the second thing. Not because they’d sneer at my effort but because there’s a truly exceptional poet in the group and I was terrified she’d think my writing awful. Any writing. But thankfully she’s the kind of writer who says it like it is but is also all about encouragement. These are the types I value most. I don’t always want to be told my work is great. I mean SOMETIMES, but not ALWAYS. I want to know what’s working but crucially, what isn’t. Then I can go away and do that thing I love so very much; the refining.

For me this is slightly different to the edit. It’s the final bit when I think everything is almost perfect. Well, okay, nothing is ever perfect for this writer. Or probably any other writer come to think of it. But it’s that ‘on the precipice of being oh so right thing’. You probably know what I mean. Where you nit-pick about a word or phrase. Where you move a paragraph or line up or down. Where you remove all the punctuation. Then put it all back again 5 seconds later. Yeah, you know what I mean.

Publishing that Poesy
The long and the short of it is, I decided to Poesy, Publish and be Damned. Or not. So far I’ve yet to be struck down by lightening or urged to abandon my verse vulgarity. Well, there’s still time.

And in other news…
Jinx now has his own Instagram page. For those who’ve read his particular brand of obnoxious in Memoirs of a Feline Familiar, you may want more. Why I don’t quite know, but there it is.

The final edit of the poetry collaboration is coming on quite nicely. Thank you for asking. We hope to have the e-book out to you some time in May. The paperback will follow once we are out of Lockdown and can commit to a launch or two. A % of the proceeds will go towards local animal charities. More on this soon.


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