In 2011, I found myself traveling down a road I never dreamed I would. I have written poetry as long as I can remember. I write whatever comes into my head. All feelings, all problems faced directly. Some were based on personal experiences, others just on observations of the world. I usually write in the first person, so no one would feel targeted should they happen upon one of my notebooks and read a poem. I wanted everyone to know they were not alone, even if I would not let them see my words. Because of one teacher, rarely would I let anyone outside of my immediate family see my scribbles. My daughter, Jasmine did send one of my poems out for a contest. When it was selected to be published, she felt she had proof my poems should be in a book. I let her send them off and when no response was ever received, I declared the proof on my side. She read every thing I wrote and never stopped encouraging me to put them out into the world. But, I never let her talk me into sharing again.
After her passing, I joined Facebook in an attempt to connect with her profile to share with her daughter when she grew up. I found friends who helped me cope with my heartache and loneliness. A chance share on social media of a poem led to the publication of my first book, Voices In My Head. The whole experience seemed like a whirlwind. So many friends supporting me, encouraging me to put my words out there.
Their continuous spurring on was fed by my daughter's voice whispering in my mind. Even from her perch in heaven, she was still urging me to publish, to share my thoughts with the world. In her memory, and to quiet my friends, I did publish. I had no idea how many poems should be in a book, so I just put every one on my computer inside. With a feeling of excitement and dread, I sent my heart out into the world.
The pats on the back from my internet friends fed my ego and I almost started to believe I might be a poet. Perhaps I really did write good poems, ones that would give hope to the reader. As the novelty of the new book faded, the blinders I had been wearing disappeared. Finding readers willing to purchase my poems was not going to be easy.
Lots of people are willing to say you write well and they really love your work, as long as they are able to read it for free. Testifying to how much work and money goes into publishing seems to fall on deaf ears. Although many will pay big bucks for a cup of coffee, spending money to help support a friend's dream is a completely different matter. Even suggesting they could help in a way that is free, like telling people how much they enjoy your work or just sharing your promotions appears to be imposing too much.
Still, I tried to believe in their praise. The dream of being understood dangles like a carrot in front of my eyes. Publish again, they said. A second book will get people to buy the first one. Well, I did publish again 2 years later. Then I tried a sample book 2 years after that. Funny, despite little interest, I published 2 more books. This year, I finished the series that started with Voices In My Head. The tribute to my daughter's dream. "QUIET! Please?" and "Silence" will join "Voices In My Head" and "They Won't Shut Up". My personal viewpoint, my life in rhyme, collectively called Jasmine's Wish, finally fulfilled. Will any care, probably not many. But I will know I did my best to fulfill my daughter's dream and she will be smiling as she looks down on me.
My daughter's wish At last fulfilled Path to success Mostly uphill
Obstacles found Along the way Kept my desire My faith, at bay
Her opinion Kept me going Though my doubt was Overflowing
It took her death To make it real Poems no longer Would I conceal
As she looks down I hope she knows My love for her Forever grows
I dedicate These books to her Fulfilled this wish Only for her
She's now a star I wish upon Shining on me As I move on
Jasmine dear You shine so bright Hope these tomes bring You some delight