I have this weird obsession when it comes to my poetry notebook. Scratch that. I have multiple weird habits and obsessions about my poetry notebook. When I first started keeping this poetry notebook, I did not care about format or completing and perfecting the poems I was writing. It was about me writing more poetry, did not have to be perfect, it just needed to exist.
Scribbled poetry, thoughts laid on paper as fast as humanly possible. Scribbled poetry, written fast so as to not be forgotten. Half written poems, laid on paper in the hopes that one day they would be formatted into one great poem.
That was how it started. But, as the year progressed, my poetry notebook became a bit more sacred to me. Rules were laid out and I followed them religiously in the hope that those rules also equalled greatness.
Each poem was to have its own page. If a poem took half a page, the next poem would start on the next page. It looks cleaner and more organized that way.
All poems would have a title or at least a blank space for the title.
The date that the poem was written was to be noted on the bottom of the page.
The place, time and/or inspiration for the poem would be written right below the date.
No more scribbled poetry, all poems had to be written in my best handwriting and always in black pen.
None of these rules made the poetry written more important. While I enjoy being able to remember when, where and why I wrote a poem, that information did not always contribute to its importance.
Still, the most idiotic of all the unwritten and unspoken rules of my poetry notebook is this one. No poem shall be written in my notebook until I feel that its format, language and content is at least good. I would re-think every line 20 times and then move on to the next one. Once I was done with the first two lines I would recite them to myself and move on to the third one… and then recite the three first lines and so on. I would continue that process until the poem was done and then I would write it down. I will be honest, it was not always bad reciting the poem over and over again helped me find a rhythm and it made all of the lines fit together better. It also made people believe I was a little bit mad, since I was walking around the bus and metro reciting the lines to myself. Ooh Well…
I honestly can’t recall the moment that my notebook climbed on that pedestal and I decided that no unfinished poem or stanza would go in it, but it is honestly sad. This notebook was supposed to be for any poetry, everything was supposed to be welcome. Instead it became this obsessive elitistic situation where I would be too scared to write anything in there that was not complete or didn’t have a clear point to put across. A notebook that is not to be used for writing and editing things – weird obsession, I know.
I hope to change that. I want to go back to using my notebook for writing all poetry that comes to me. At the same time, I am keeping some of my habits. Titles are nice and so are dates. Plus, writing in handwriting I can actually read is super useful.