Since April 1st, 2017, I’ve been writing 4 line poems every day, often while commuting, in a series I call Dear Diary. To make things more interesting, I’ve limited myself to 5 minutes per poem. (And yes, I’ve published the majority of these on Instagram.)
I came across two quotes on April 1st, and they pushed me to start this daily writing practice.
“Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow… The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.” - Kurt Vonnegut
Happy National Poetry Month! Some poets attempt the "30/30" challenge, where they write 1 new poem for each day of April. Feeling brave?
— Sarah Kay (@kaysarahsera) April 1, 2017
I merged the two ideas: 4 lines in 5 minutes every day. 80%+ of them are garbage, but writing them is the reward.
The dirty dozen
In honor of hitting the 100 day streak, these are my favorite 13 so far in order of publication. Where appropriate, I’ve added some context:
Sometimes my most poetic words come out in real conversations. More than half the people closest to me live thousands of miles away, and that limits how close we can really be.
I wrote this after a dentist appointment. (Don’t worry, Mom, my teeth were all good!)
I imagined seeing myself on a missing person milk carton. And yes, the awkward enjambment is deliberate. After a couple drinks, I’d explain how this is more profound, but I’ll let you think on that.
I wanted to offer another perspective on the April 1st poem. Being in the same place isn’t enough if you follow different North Stars.
A friend described someone’s music as having a “lived-in quality, like worn fabric.” I had to steal his line. I was getting over a really bad sunburn, and I imagined scraping sandpaper across my skin to reveal the purest, albeit most imperfect parts of me.
Out of town. At a party. Woke up confused. I smelled like a different person the next morning.
The harsh reality that many of life’s achievements are binary. You did or you didn’t, and nobody else knows that except for you.
Inspired by What I Had In Mind by The Wild Reeds and this comic I put on my fridge a couple years ago:
You can buy this comic here.
Making big life changes is romanticized. It’s not what you think it will be.
It’s fascinating to me how mindfulness practice can lead to uncovering repressed or forgotten memories. Butterflies were a perfect way to imagine this. It’s easy to forget the bad and the mundane. Maybe it’s better that way?
I wrote this after a good friend convinced me the thing we love about the start of relationships isn’t the other person — we love how the other person makes us feel about ourselves. (If I dated you in high school, I’m sorry I didn’t realize this until now…)
Inspired by the song Ooh Love by Ria Mae and every friend of mine who’s ever been in a bad relationship.
After a long discussion on short-term decisions, my best friend texted me “But everything is only for now.”
A friend was describing the exact moment she realized a relationship was over. You know that thing you imagine your beloved fixing in the future? Yeah, it’s here to stay. Sorry.
This one is outside the first 100 days, but that’s why it’s a bonus.
Shamelessly inspired by the TV show Fleabag on Amazon.