It’s that time of year again. Time for the CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize.
Those of you who have been visiting my website from its inception (2007) may remember that I used to have POETRY and SHORT STORIES categories where I would post finished works and snippets of work in progress. Years ago I learned that works previously published – even on personal websites – were not eligible for submission to publications or contests. Posting literary works on my own site was self-sabotage; I was effectively eliminating the possibility of professional publication. I stopped posting new work in 2009 and eventually removed the categories altogether in 2011.
Last year I missed CBC’s poetry deadline, and then was too busy with my visual practice from September through November to even consider participating in the Short Fiction Prize.
This year’s poetry contest began March 1st and is open through May 1st. Submissions must be between 400-600 words. The longest poem I’ve written is only 265 words (I’m a believer in razor-sharp brevity). It will be a challenge for me to write something as lengthy as the minimum word count.
I’m up for pushing myself, though. The grand prize is $6,000.00 from Canada Council for the Arts, but the real attraction for me is the 2 week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. It would be exciting to see what I could generate. It’s been years since I’ve allowed myself the time for consistent, dedicated word-smithing.
I carry a little piece of regret in my heart that I never professionally pursued my passion for writing. Every once in a while – when its sharp edges poke a nerve – I pull up my writing file, read some of my literary portfolio, and edit or start a brand new piece.
You might be thinking,
“Hey, why didn’t you do both? Become an artist and a writer?”
I often think it, too.
Truth is, I felt that to build either of my passions into the successful career I wanted, I needed to commit all-in to one of them (this was especially pertinent when I was working a day job and had limited time to pursue any creative practice). Though I had early successes in both the visual art and the literary world – selling artwork and winning top prize in a short story competition – the pull of manipulating materials with my hands won out over having my fingers dance across a keyboard.
I’m in a committed, long-term relationship with my visual practice. Writing has been my mistress with whom I have occasional clandestine affairs.
At least up until now.
Now that I no longer have a job that takes me away from my practice I wonder if I can manage a creatively polygamous lifestyle – be concurrently connubial to art and words?
I think it might be time to try.
How about you – any regrets at having to choose one passion over another? Or have you been able to successfully marry – and manage – multiple infatuations? Please share your story in the comments!