I’ve been doing the August Poetry Postcard Fest for several years, and this year managed to do 100 cards, a goal I set for myself.
I was more excited about cutting and pasting this year (I made most of my own cards) than getting down to writing. And with so many of these beautiful cards, I read the back before I sent them and was like, it’s almost illegible and it makes no sense. Into the mail you go!
That sort of sums up my writing life this year. In order to get myself to keep writing, I’ve had to justify the act of it more than usual.
So many reasons – I sort of developed “workshop brain” – where as you’re writing you’re hearing those voices saying “this doesn’t quite make sense” and so on.
And I think that in general, life (i.e. kids and work of all sorts) tends to conspire against creativity. Anyone who continues to make anything has in my book achieved a major victory.
So I keep pushing on, and doing 100 cards this summer was part of that.
Process-wise, I wrote to the card, as I have in past years. I took the pictures from magazines, books of old photos and things I picked up on my travels. I took most of the backgrounds from a book of historic patterns and enjoyed using the weirder ones.
After finishing the cards in August, I took a break from writing and have been typing up the poems I’ve written since spring. Alongside those that don’t come together, I’ve stumbled across some I’ve really loved, that sum up essential things for me. It’s been a little gift, an encouragement to keep going.
So thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of my efforts this year. I can’t claim that all of these are great poems, more like little slices of life or missives I’d rather send off in the mail, as it were.
More info on the Poetry Postcard Fest: You sign up and, starting in August, send a poem on a postcard to 31 people. Those same people send a postcard poem to you. You can keep going if you want and send one to everyone – this year there were over 420 people. The Fest was created by Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers.
To sign up, see https://www.paulenelson.com/august-poetry-postcard-fest/
“56 Days of August” is a print anthology of Fest postcards, if you want to read more postcard-sized poems: http://www.56daysofaugust.com/