Every once in a while, I get a chance to meet up with one of my old professors, and he’s kind enough to review what poems I’ve managed to write since we last visited. When I was still in school, I had dreams of maintaining contact with some of my fellow writing students, of one day having my letters with some of these future laureates bound into collections and archived in university libraries as literary commodities. I had hoped to maintain at least basic contact and possibly to trade poems for review from time to time whether or not the more lofty aspiration worked out. As it turns out, I’ve kept up with none of my partners in pens. Oh, there were a few letters near the beginning, and I recently thought I might rekindle a correspondence with one of the friends who had gone on to edit a magazine I had submitted some poems to. But by and large, my literary trajectory has been flat: I have neither produced much decent work nor managed to browbeat my favored classmates into staying in touch. Everyday life keeps me from thinking about this very often, but from time to time, I feel something like sorrow and profound disappointment at having essentially given up that part of my life.*
There are scattered nice moments, though, as when I got my packet of poems back from my former professor yesterday inked with many positive comments. Naturally, there were revision suggestions on all the poems, and some of them came off as duds (though he didn’t say as much), but several of them that I felt ok about he thought were pretty good. So while the urge to write is often dead or at any rate weaker than the urge to put food on my table and clothes on my baby, maybe all the talent’s not completely gone, and maybe every once in a while, I can shave some of the edge off my disappointment.
*This is not to say that I’m not happy with my life as it’s unfolded. It’s more like saying that while I chose the turkey, I sure would have liked to have had some ham as well.