I was never a good poet.
My brain seems hardwired for prose. I can write a beautiful sentence full of metaphor and irony, but any attempt to craft that into something short ultimately results in something cliche and insincere. Still, despite my shortcomings, I never stopped trying to write poems. I still enjoy the genre though excellence in the artform eludes me. Maybe it’s something about the classic romanticization of poetry that I cannot resist. Maybe it’s because I’m so bad at it that I want it all the more.
Should lack of talent be a reason to stop?
Should bad painters stop painting and bad singers stop singing? Should I, an admittedly bad and self-aware poet, stop writing poems when I know they are objectively mediocre? As I go through my personal catalogue of writing I find myself asking this very question. As I delete truly cringe-inducing pieces I saved years ago, I wonder why I bother to continue to record my embarrassing attempts at literally art. I delete file after file of failure, and yet I know that I will pick up a pen, and still try again. I know that I won’t stop, even when my inner critic begs me to. I won’t stop trying to write poetry, and I hope bad painters don’t stop painting and bad singers don’t stop singing.
I do it because I enjoy it.
I will never sell a book of poetry, at least I doubt I ever will. This doesn’t mean that this hobby of mine is a waste of time. We have this strange notion that in order to justify doing something, we should be good at it, or have the potential to become good at it, but why? Why can’t we just let people enjoy things without trying to monetize it or show off? I enjoy writing my bad poems because it helps me get thoughts out of my head and feelings off my chest. That alone is enough of a reason for me to continue writing. Even if I never make a single dollar off a poem, I’m not going to stop.