I'm a poet, and I didn't even know it!
(Get it?? It's funny, cause "poet" and "know it" rhyme! See? I'll take a moment to allow the delicious cleverness of that joke to sink in...)
Ok, moving on...
I got a really nice compliment yesterday from a complete stranger, and it made my day!
Now, as background information for this story, let me just say that between the ages of 6 and 16, I was one of those insufferable people who thought that they could write poetry and who wrote a ton of poems and then forced others to read them. I filled notebooks with bad poems. I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of my own poetic genius. I was made no less insufferable by the fact that in second or third grade, I won second place for my age group in a city-wide poetry contest and was invited to read my poem aloud to a large crowd which was composed entirely of parents of other children who were also reading their poems (and my parents, of course). My name and picture were in the local paper. It went straight to my head. What I obviously failed to realize was that writing better poems than other seven and eight year olds isn't exactly the same thing as, say, being Robert Frost. So, I thought I was a poet. A great poet. A fantastic poet. And then I turned 17 and took AP English in high school and read poetry by people who actually could write poetry, and I suddenly realized that my poetry was pathetic in comparison, and I burned it all. (No, just kidding, I save everything. It's probably in a box somewhere.) Anyway, after my sudden and painful realization that my poetry was mediocre, I stopped writing poetry completely, until I needed another creative writing class for my writing degree, so I signed up for a poetry class during my senior year of college.
I wrote all the poems that were assigned to me, and not a single one more. As my final project, I assembled the requisite chapbook of a dozen or so poems, and the first poem was about how I couldn't write poetry. I printed the required number of copies of the chapbook, got reasonably good reviews from my classmates and my professor, and then didn't write another poem again. In fact, the dedication page of my chapbook said "This book is dedicated to my boyfriend Mr. Darling, my poetry classmates, and Dr. (Name of Poetry Professor), who will be the only ones who will ever read it." (Quick side note - I dedicated a poetry book to Mr. Darling, and then he ended up marrying me! Coincidence? Yeah, probably. He's not really into poetry.)
This all took place four years ago, and I haven't thought about it since. Except for yesterday, when I got a Facebook message from someone I didn't know, and the subject line of the message was the title of my poetry chapbook from senior year. Apparently, this guy is now a senior at the same college I attended, and he was in my old professor's office discussing poetry, and my old professor was showing him various chapbooks from former students, and when he read mine, he liked it so much he asked if he could keep a copy of it. So he sent me a message to let me know that he loved my poetry, that contrary to what I'd assumed in my dedication, other people were actually reading and enjoying my chapbook, and he actually thanked me for writing my poems. (He also congratulated me on marrying the guy to whom I had dedicated my chapbook. Haha!)
So, in summation, I'm still no Robert Frost (and I promise that I will not convert this to a poetry blog and subject you all to mediocre poetry from now on), but I thought it was a really nice compliment, and it made me feel good about myself and about my writing, so I felt like sharing. Also, I think I'm going to start following this guy's example and go out of my way to compliment people on things I really like, even if I don't know them.