The contest had a requirement of a minimum of 48 pages. Over the last three decades, I had scribbled down enough poems to fulfil that quota, so I put them together into a collection with four general themes: Nature & Time; Good & Evil/Live & Death; For the Young at Heart; and Family. Looking at that collection, I then had the brainstorm that, if I added a few more, I might have something worth publishing to the wider world.
And thus the birth of Dancing Words.
Most people are unaware of my poetry, which doesn't surprise me in the least, seeing as I've never published such before. Nor have I actively written much in the way of poems for quite a few years (although 3 did appear in 2003 after a bit of a traumatic year within the family). Until Dancing Words. I had wondered if I even had enough poetry in me to flesh out the contest pieces into something closer to 100 pages (the final book being just shy of that number, pictures included). Turns out, I did, and nearly three dozen new poems popped into being between December and March (a dozen of them under the Nature Haikus, which came surprisingly quick and fairly easy--I leave to you whether that's impressive or not [if you've ever spat out a haiku, you'll probably understand]).
I don't remember writing any poetry (that I'd admit to) until high school. In an interesting in-class assignment in OAC (that's grade 13, for those old enough to remember when that was a thing), the teacher put on some gentle music for five minutes and had us simply write down wherever popped into our minds: "Don't think about it; don't try to get it perfect; just put your pens to the page and write whatever comes out." I liked that and the results of my subconscious yammerings so much, that I did various other such experiments with music at home (listening to things like Yanni, and Solitudes worked great for this, at least for me). You'll find some of them (yes, from that long ago) in the Nature & Time section, as well as Juxtaposed, and Juxtaposed II from Good & Evil.
Other poems from high school days include the anthropomorphisation of inanimate objects (Rock Solid; Warm Embrace; Living Death), and the poems inspired by other literary works. Some came from that time-frame, but not through any school-related projects (I was that geeky kid who might spend part of a vacation writing something like The End and The Beginning just for fun, or hear a news report and share her thoughts on paper, such as Choices of Life, and To Live). In fact, with the exception of The Surfer, everything in the For the Young at Heart section originated from the mind of a kid in her teens and early twenties, and given that I'm gazing into the twilight years of my forties, that's not terribly recent.
A few of the poems started life as a micro-story which I adapted into a more poetic style. For example, I wrote the original Cassie's Dance (four or five years ago) for a flash fiction contest where you wrote something under 500 words based on a provided picture. The Gathering evolved from a first-year university project from a creative writing course that asked us to write the longest sentence we could starting with the classic phrase: "It was a dark and stormy night...". And Lost and Found also started as a very short story that I had jotted down just for the heck of it many years ago.
Many of the older poems have a more youthful feel to them (at least to me, especially knowing their origin); some of it simply playful, a couple almost ridiculous (The Red Sleft of Crite definitely falls into this category), but I felt it important to include them nevertheless, both as a sort of evolution, and also hopefully something to bring a smile, even as you might ask yourself: "what the heck was that?". I figure an honest collection of poetry needs to include both the deep--thought-provoking, mysterious, evocative--and the inane, just like life.
You'll find elements of my usual fantasy genre writing in some of the this collection, but you'll also discover a different side of my brain in Dancing Waves. Enjoy!