How many poets does it take to write a poem? None. Obviously a poem can write itself. Ha!
The past few days I've experienced the awkward side to the creative process: Publishing. I was invited to contribute to a book with three other poets. It was a simple question really, do you want to be published or don't you? But, I wasn't fond of the collection title. I jumped right in to the ring and started swinging. Why that title, why not THIS title?
( Simple? Asking four poets to agree on one thing, simple?) Ha! again.
If I didn't get a better title, I thought to myself, one that truly represented me and my work, why, I might just take my poems and go! *stomping my feet.*
I realized, on some level, my reaction was purely instinctual (and somewhat childish). Why was I feeling so overly protective towards my work? Would a title diminish what I'd spent so much time and energy creating? Was it the fact that I didn't get to pick the title myself, was I a control freak?
I wasn't sure.
I asked my husband: "Would you say I'm a difficult person?"
He didn't even say anything; he just gave me a look.
Reality check—Duh. Yes.
"Gee, thanks a lot."
My husband laughed. "Difficult, but fun, wouldn't want you any other way."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you don't always listen. It's very frustrating. You already have your mind made up before a conversation or debate even begins."
"No, I don't."
"Yes, you do. When you make up your mind about something, you won't change it for anything."
I contemplated this for a moment. I have changed my mind about some things, very drastically in the past ten years in fact. But was it true that I didn't listen? I considered the discussions we've had about politics and religion…
"I don't change my mind because I'm RIGHT." I told him.
He laughed again. "See, that's what I mean."
"Don't be mad. You asked."
I've always considered myself open-minded, aware of others points of view and empathetic towards those views. But, was I—really?
I reviewed my position on the title of the book and I took myself out of the debate, got out of the way of others who have their own vision concerning the name, and threw my own ego out the window. This allowed the universe to approach me with a measure of grace. Almost.
Ha! So there. ..see! I can change my mind.
To boil what I learned from this experience down to one sentence, I'll quote a writer friend of mine who suggested in situations like this I should just go with the flow and:
"Be grateful, not grating."