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“Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to.” ~ John Berger

it is fall, whether or not the calendar agrees.

the days are getting shorter. the nights are cooler. there is a certain melancholy in the air. the stores are putting Halloween on sale to make room for Christmas.

i’ve been sleeping with the windows open. enjoying the night songs of the various nocturnal creatures. and this quote, this legend of the cicadas, has been floating around in my head.

i think about the poems i haven’t written or have only half written. worse, i think of the ones i have written suffocating in a drawer, or a box, or pining for the opportunity to be released from the hard drive of my computer.

in life we sometimes get side tracked from our dreams, goals, desires. sometimes we travel a road so far we decide we can’t back up even if we don’t want to continue going forward. the last five years have brought a great deal of change to my life — many new roads and unexpected paths have gotten me to where i am today. sometimes i want to look back, but i know where i’ve been, the adventure is discovering what lies before me. so i’ve learned to enjoy detours. to side track the side tracks and to blaze some new paths along the way.

yesterday i took an exam for the next level of my professional license. as i drove over an hour to the test site there was some stress related to taking the test (of course, it was a 4 hour exam) but i also realized there was some regret. regret? that i had taken this path and not another. that i didn’t follow my dream to get an MFA and become a writer.

but wait a minute, i thought as i lingered a few extra minutes in the parking lot before checking in for the test. an MFA would have been lovely (and i’m sure i’ll write about why i didn’t pursue in the past — but i still can) but not having it does not prevent me from writing. nor does it prevent me from sending out those poems.

so i took a deep breath and sat for my exam (which i passed), then came home and started unpacking some boxes, sorting through my hard drive and looking up places to submit my poetry.

i’ve shared some of my poems with you and i am going to continue to do so, but i also plan to go a step further and submit some for publication. they may not get published, but i have to give them a chance…i have to be able to say i tried!

I like cicadas, but i don’t want to be one singing songs of lament in the next life because i didn’t allow my poetic voice to be heard in this one.

so what about you? are you letting your writing voice be heard in this life?