Poetry has always been a part of me. Not necessarily always in its purest sense, but verses of organized thought run through my head without pause during all my waking hours. They have done so since I can remember.
Most of the time, this poetry inside my head has transmitted itself in a more lyrical fashion. Revealing a secret here: I love to sing! And I have done so since before I knew the meaning of the words I was singing. My sisters always seemed to get more recognition for it than I did, however, so I kept that part of me mostly on the down low. Guess my secret’s out now!
A couple of years ago, for the first time in more than 30 years, I signed up for voice lessons at the local music store. I had hoped to train my voice once more to work well enough with the creative writing I plan to do, but not long after I started, I chickened out. It’s still a dream and a goal of mine…maybe someday. But at least I have kept my pen moving across those pages…
And as my first book is about to be launched—a poetry collective featuring 50 of my original poems and first published lyrics—I am very nervous to be exposing myself to the public like this too. And this time, I haven’t chickened out.
As an author and as a poet, my words come into reality once they hit the paper. Before that moment, they are constantly whirling inside my mind like snow inside a water globe—real and existent, but floating and falling until I stir them up with my pen in hand.
I want to point out that I do not have an MFA or any kind of degree in literature. I would have pursued that field if I followed my heart back then, but I let others sway me in a direction that was supposed to bring me lots more money. That didn’t exactly work out either, but…
I do have a Master of Arts degree in management, and I’ve spent many years as a journalist, copywriter, business writer and editor before arriving on the scene formally as an author. I never stopped writing creatively over all these years either…until a few years ago I just kept the creative stuff mostly to myself.
I’ve been told many times that I have an easy-to-follow, conversational style to my writing. I can agree with that since I feel like what I am creating with words is more of a one-on-one dialogue between me and a friend, for a moment or for a lifetime.
There have been, and always will be, critics who have been displeased with my writing style. They declare it too informal and seemingly untrained—that it doesn’t follow “the rules.” Full disclosure here—I respect “the rules” and know they have their place; I just find them to be too stifling for my own creative flow.
I’ve been writing ever since I could. And reading. Through books, music, poetry, movies, newspapers, magazines, photography and typography, I have come to terms with just how incredibly powerful words can be. Often much more so than mere sticks and stones…
Through the power of words, I personally have been able to move through much pain and hurt, coming into my own as the strong, happy and resolute woman that I am today. Because of this, I have finally found real, authentic love—within myself, with my husband, and with the others that form my own imagined drum circle.
Over the last three decades and more, it has always been classic, contemporary and emerging poems by poets that provided me refuge, inspired me, or lifted me up when I’ve needed it most. Poetry has rooted itself deeply inside my soul.
In our home there is a hallway leading to the bedrooms off the living room. Its wall is known as our “wall gallery of words.”
Displayed there are words assembled by me, my sons, my mom, and my stepdad. They join my most cherished classics, such as Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Fire and Ice,” and “The Road Not Taken,” along with Walt Whitman’s “This is what you shall do…” from the preface of his self-published “Leaves of Grass” and contemporary poet David Whyte’s “Self-Portrait.”
Also displayed is a work of Bob Marley’s. It is not a set of lyrics, however, but one of his many wonderful poems. “He’s not perfect…” serves as a reminder to all who read it of the realities of relationships. And in my world, there have been enough failures in that arena to need a visual reminder every day.
So why do I write poetry, or anything at all? It’s certainly not for the money. And while I dream of following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert and J.K. Rowling, it’s much more than that.
It is because of the belief I hold dear of taking each memorable moment, framing it within the lines of a font partnered with the pixels of an image, and placing it in full view of others so that we are all empowered to reach a collective understanding as we share in that moment, in that dialogue, and in that memory, now and for all times.
Thus, united in conversation, these words and images become much more powerful and memorable. And so do we.
Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? TrishHopkinson.com is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts.
Melissa Crockett Meske spent the first half of her life living and loving in the St. Louis Metro-East region. Born in Alton, Illinois, Melissa still calls nearby Jerseyville her hometown.
She is the youngest of nine children and a mother of two fine young men.
After a series of failed yet fruitful attempts, Melissa met her true life partner Kevin Meske in the fall of 2012, and married him nearly two years later on Valentine’s Day. As a bonus, she has also become the stepmom to a U.S. Marine whose wife is the other Melissa Meske; together they have three beautiful little girls, with the fourth arriving in June 2016.
It wasn’t long after their wedding when Melissa and Kevin moved over 800 miles away from home and settled in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, where they reside today.
The Dirt Still Looks the Same is Melissa’s first published poetry chapbook, and her first published book.
You can keep up with the author’s pen and pages at her website, mcmeske.com. Be sure to sign up for her mostly monthly newsletter while you’re there too.
Her first recorded and published lyrics, “At the End of the Wind and the Rain,” can be listened to and purchased through Amazon.com or at ReverbNation.com/melissacrockettmeske.
Melissa can also be found on the usual social media outlets, including:
- Facebook: Melissa Crockett Meske, Author (https://www.facebook.com/mcmeske214/)
- Twitter: @MCMeske (https://twitter.com/MCMeske)
- Tumblr: Melissa Crockett Meske (http://mcmeske.tumblr.com)
- YouTube: Melissa Crockett Meske (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQvtBgBv0GoOoafWb9kLM5A)
- Instagram: mcmeske1 (https://www.instagram.com/mcmeske1/)
- Pinterest: mcmeske (https://www.pinterest.com/mcmeske/)
- LinkedIn: Melissa Crockett Meske (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcmeske)
Categories: Guest Blog Posts