You're Allowed To Change Your Mind
I’ve been experimenting a lot this last year with what poetry and comedy have in common. But in the last couple of months, it’s honestly led to a struggle with figuring out my voice when I’m on stage.
I was recently listening to an episode of The Creative Pep Talk and Andy talked about how to find your way when you’ve lost it. He referred to it as creative vertigo and compared it to when you’re underwater but don’t know where the surface is. His advice was this: you’ve got to define what’s “up” for the medium you’re creating in.
Understanding that poetry and comedy have a lot in common, but are two different mediums, is important. I still think poets could stand to learn a thing or two from comedians and vice versa.
When it comes to producing a show that uses both, I’ve been constantly experimenting with how to strike the right balance between them and how to transition between each form during my show. So far it has been a mixed success at best, and honestly, very frustrating at times.
Is it shocking that the nonbinary person struggles with transitions? 😂
After my recent show in St. Louis, I had a good talk with my friend on the drive back. We were thinking about how poetry and comedy ask different things from the audience, and how maybe you need to signal to the audience when something new is happening.
At first, it was frustrating to feel like I’d been working on doing something one way and suddenly needed to change it all over again. It almost felt like going backward.
That’s the beauty of the creative journey though: trying things and failing forward. Nothing is wasted as long as you learn from it. You’re allowed to try something new, decide it doesn’t work, or change your mind.
My high school creative writing teacher had this quote on his wall:
“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
(Which I just now googled and is from Samuel Beckett, an Irish novelist.)
I’m very excited about the updates I’m making to Godzilla’s Not A Dinosaur in response to that discussion. If you’re in the KC area, I hope you’ll come check it out!
Before I go, here are two quick tips I’ve been thinking about for finding your voice:
Review your favorite pieces you’ve written! Why are they your favorites? What do you like about them?
My poem “If I Were a Better Poet, I Would Remember” took home first place in the Central Avenue Publishing 2024 Poetry Prize last month. I was very honored to win and am excited to see the anthology when it comes out in the spring.
On my Instagram, I posted this scorecard for the poem:
I want to demystify the publishing process for new poets (or poets new to publishing) and talk about what’s behind the scenes when something is accepted. Most of my accepted pieces have been rejected multiple times before getting published.
As part of this conversation, I also wrote a new blog this month: A Quick Start Guide To Getting Started With Poetry Submissions.
I’m not looking at as many submission opportunities right now because the Fringe Festival is this month.
Here’s your regular reminder that Chill Subs is an awesome resource that we didn’t have back in my day (said in an old-person voice) when I started submitting. They have magazines for every genre.
Here’s a writing prompt though!
Write about your favorite cartoon growing up and how it impacted you.
Siaara Freeman is a master of this. Here’s some of her work on Freeze Ray Poetry.