I am an accidental poet. I never followed the deliberate road of academia or institutions of higher learning, but like everything in life, one thing leads to another…
You could say I have had three lifetimes.
The only life I had ever known before this was on a stage, with the spotlight in my eyes, This is what I lived for. There was no question in my mind, I was destined to be a classical soprano and concert pianist, a calling that intensified as I outgrew childhood and entered adolescence.
Music had always been such an intrinsic part of me, that the moment I was born, when the doctor grabbed me by the feet, turned me upside down and slapped my wee baby bottom, I swear I burst into song, not tears.
With those teen-age hormones and emotions kicking in, I found it terribly romantic to lead a life of dedication and sacrifice for my art. I was fearless and confident, or young and naive, but that’s what it took as I set out on my own at age eighteen with a one way ticket to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada, three thousand miles from home where I didn’t know a soul.
All divas have to eat, so between studying the art of Bel Canto and learning arias, I auditioned for everything in any genre, whether I was qualified or not.
I went where the work was, a nomad in search of the next gig, the next adventure, no matter where it was, what it was, or what it paid.
But glitter and glitz never endure, so I decided that composing music would be my legacy which segued into writing songs.
While I was performing at the Palomino in Los Angeles, a production company for a country star was in the audience and requested demos for three of my songs. Not only were they encouraging but suggested I come to Nashville, which they called a “writer’s town” where the only prerequisite was to have the heart of a poet and the skin of a rhinoceros. Before they could hang up the phone, I was packed, ready to go, and on my way.
At long last, I landed an exclusive publishing contract. This is it, I thought. Now I was a professional. All I had to do is write hits and live happily ever after. Not necessarily.
Where does poetry come in?
It wasn’t a decision. I’ve always been writing as a form of introspective expression or the wonder of being alive. I started a diary soon after I left high school and some of the first poems are from there–the unbridled, raw emotion of one very young, with not much ego yet to protect. But in actuality, what I thought was unique to me, is simply human emotion that all of us experience to a greater or lesser degree.
I do not set out to write a poem. I wait for them to come and if they don’t, I wait until they do, so don’t struggle with writer’s block–then I write them down, never consciously following any rules of structure. I go by feel– conduct them as I would an orchestra. How the words feel when I write them, how the poem feels when I read it. My instinct tells me when it is finished.
My poems were not written to be published. They were to someone.
That came when friends encouraged me to submit them for publication. Surprisingly, they were published in Editor’s Choice in The Poetry Magazine in Chicago. Then to Olympia Publishers because they accepted material from unknown authors which evolved to “With a Broken Wing” followed by How Many Heartbeats? I am delighted with their experience and expertise.
Presently, I’m halfway through my third book having completed 72 poems. I am striving for 130, like my first book.