Modern Poet Diary
By Amy Hsuan Chiu | Oct 21, 2022, Seattle | insta: @ahcpoetry
Reading a good book is like taking a deep dive and swimming in a clamming sea, letting the water travel with your mind. The small waves gently splatter on your back, massaging the nostalgic memories. It is a state in between sublime and human consciousness, mixing and playing with your inner identity. You know it reminds you of something from a long time ago, which could be an incident that happened during your childhood when your parents were still around. Paragraph by paragraph, one line comes after another, then the goods and the bad remind you what it’s like being held and surrounded by warmth. We, the writers, call it the power of words.
I’m finally happy again. Finally, I’d say. The depressing side of me wonders how long this time lasts, but the optimistic part of me fights all the time and promises to protect me at all costs. Protecting oneself, the idea, amuses me. We, humans, are strange beings. We love the ones we hurt. We hurt the ones we love. We could never answer why. We expect and imagine. We lose and break down. Then we do it all over again. Humans.
I used to think about what would be different if the entire world recognized me as a writer. I could perhaps attend my future children’s parent-teacher conferences and introduce myself as a poet. Would they have been confused? Or would their English teachers be envious of me? Just because I get to sit down in a random coffee shop out here in Seattle and get the perfect corner seat by the windows, observing more human beings and the way they look into each other’s eyes. I forgot for a second; real writers never cared how the world looked at them.
There was a time when I passed by a second-hand store in Ballard, Seattle. Something about the little shop caught my attention. It could have been the paint falling apart from the white wall, the background record playing songs in a different language, or maybe I just simply wanted to be “hippy” and fit into whatever culture this is. Then I came across the section on prints. That was when I picked out the print: “Write drunk. Edit sober.” I swear it made me want to get a typewriter and print a bunch of word puzzles on my own.
I framed the print nicely and put it next to my clock, ironically. Something about it does not fit. Drunk people don’t care about time, but drunk writers do. Time works differently for writers. It never stops us from thinking, overthinking, and overwriting. It is as if we are from a different universe when the entire world does not belong. Each punctuation to poets works like morse codes; they are complicated, diverse, yet satisfying in their systems. I’ve heard all the sayings to people like me, privileged enough and crazy enough to choose a traditional writing path. From classic literature, theories to Shakespearean plays, relevant courses from the theater, history, philosophy, sociology, and have them all melt into creative writing. Formality and traditions split writers in the world of literature. It’s different for poets, though. Poets have our worlds. We might not be drunk, but most of us are narcissistic with every line, word, and period we write. We are not often drunk because we are already in the alcohol.
Blurriness and grey areas are all over the place, and by saying place, I mean life itself. Sure, there are drunk poets. But most of the poets I know are in between being overly confident and overly anxious. It is like being stuck in an antique closet that you know is broken but too precious to throw away or fix the squeaking door. To us, the lighting in the closet is dangerously perfect to not be dancing with ideas. The grey area then pushes us to create more from pain and trauma. Those are things we fight for, and of course, sometimes a little bit of alcohol helps. Think of it like swallowing a massive chunk of honey cake, and if you are not careful with the intake, it haunts you. It’s good until it fills you, forces you, and something bigger wants to open your shell. Sometimes writing is like giving birth; you hear voices and feel something moving within you. It’s like a mission to deliver, bringing life to that special something, important, essential to this world.
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