One Year Ago
by Janis Gaines
I started this blog a year ago today.
It was at the end of a ten-day juice fast. I was in the middle of packing — wrapping up my life in Georgia and beginning a new phase of life in Asheville, NC. This was something I had thought about doing for years, and I’m glad I finally did. I remember just diving in late one night, determined to take action on something that mattered to me. Funny thing is, I never really considered myself a poet. I knew I had written some good things throughout my life, several songs I wanted to preserve, but I don’t know that I would have ever worn the label of a poet until this blog began to take shape.
I chose the name kinda randomly. I thought it was catchy at the time, but maybe cheesy. I thought I might change it later, but it has stuck with me and I like it. It does capture two important facets of my writing — they are poems or songs, most of which rhyme or contain rhyming elements within, and they are riches to me. They represent my heart — my struggles, my faith, my love, etc. It was important to me to create a place where I could honor my work. Before this blog, my writings were quite scattered on random shapes and sizes of papers, barely legible scribbles sometimes, hidden in old journals — some of which even I was surprised to find as I was packing up my life.
It has been interesting to note that I have written much more in the past year, now that I have a place to put things. I enjoy the creative process. I enjoy choosing just the right words and rhythm, just the right picture to capture the feeling I want to express. To date, I have 45 followers. It has been fascinating and rewarding for me to see that strangers from around the world have found their way here and have liked various posts and decided to follow my work. My own family has not even done that much.
Now, instead of scraps of paper, I’m usually writing at the computer or, interestingly, in bed using the WordPress app on my iPhone. I have a handful of drafts that I’ve started but not finished. I don’t know if I ever will. I tend to write in the moment of inspiration. Usually a word or phrase or feeling will come to me and I follow it through until I feel it has been captured sufficiently. I rarely try to force things or make something up. Most of what I write just comes to me. Occasionally, I will tweak a word or phrase after the fact, but for the most part, what I write is an inspired spiritual download.
This past year I’ve also invested a little more time and energy into studying poetry, attending some workshops. I think this has been good — mainly for networking. I find that most of my inspiration comes when I have enough time and brainspace to allow myself to think and feel about my own life, which can be rare. For many years I was a single mom working two jobs and raising three kids, recovering from a handful of tragedies, and it was hard to find time to think or feel, much less write. That’s why those years are so sparse. Sad. I wonder what more I could have created if things had been different.
I wanted to record my songs for years, and I still hope to, and now I’ve added the dream of publishing someday, perhaps a poetry book or even poetry curriculum for students. Perhaps more, but that would be a start. I still struggle to find time sometimes, but I’m hopeful that will increase. However, just maintaining this blog and self-publishing has been so rewarding for me. I would like to publish. Fame and fortune have some appeal, but it’s more about being heard and making an impact, a connection that means something to someone — especially me. My hope is that this will be a legacy for my children someday. They will be able to see a side of me that they didn’t know when they were young or before they were born.
My next “project” is to go back and add the stories and inspirations behind each poem. I always love hearing what happened behind the scenes of a particular song or story. That seems a little daunting since there’s over 150 posts here to date in categories including poetry, songs, haiku, and even one iStory. What I would have given to start something like this when I first started writing! I imagine what has been lost — stories, other poems or songs…I hope my students appreciate why I make them blog today. =)
In the end, my work is a witness to my life and this blog is a way that I can memorialize my experiences in a way that matters — the good, the bad, the ugly. Thanks for following, listening, and reading…here’s to good things yet to come!
© June 28, 2013