August is the month of the annual Poetry Postcard Fest,
brainchild of Seattle poet Paul Nelson.
In 2007, I was lucky enough to give Paul an assist on getting the first project started.
Back then, about 100 people from all over the country participated.
11 years hence, there are several hundred participants from all over the world.
But it’s been a long while since I participated.
I joined in this time because my current poetry project has been a bust so far.
I’ve written nothing I’m satisfied with. At all.
I wanted the challenge of having to write a single draft of a poem quickly, then send it off right away.
There’s pressure in knowing you only get one shot–but freedom from perfectionism too.
I bought a pack of random postcards.
I pull out a card, turn it over, and begin to write.
My only constraint (aside from the poem needing to fit in the small space)
is that the poem must have something to do with the concept of time.
It’s been quite crazy having to figure out how to work time into a poem about a giraffe or a monkey.
Even though it feels like I am writing in a vacuum, the poem is a missive to my audience of one.
Some of the poems came swiftly, without setting my pen down once.
Some of the poems have taken a bit more time.
But nearly all are silly, in some way.
Rarely, if ever, do I allow myself to just be silly.
And you know what, I can’t figure out why. It’s actually a lot of fun.
It’s okay not to take every endeavor so seriously.
Participating in the August Poetry Postcard Fest is reminding me that it’s okay to write mediocre poems.
It’s even okay to write bad poems.
As long as the postcard poems make the recipient smile, that’s good enough.
And good enough is sometimes good enough.
And I think there is a larger lesson in this postcard experience for me–
No matter what happens on the page, just write.
And don’t aim for perfection.
Just aim to put words on paper.
It seems like I knew all of this before, but I keep forgetting, and keep needing to remind myself.
I can fix the words later.
Or let the words go and write some more.
And some more.
And eventually, I might even write something I like enough to hold onto.