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Hi and welcome to Jar of Poetry! I’m John-Anthony.
As you can see, no poems today. I wanted to take the time to introduce myself, reflect on September, and what you can expect from this blog.
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I don’t consider myself a poet, believe it or not—not anymore. I’d rather go by an enthusiast. I think the title fits a little better. It’s a one-person operation—from writing to producing the audio.
I’m from Guam, a little island in the Pacific Ocean. It’s where my curiosity of the world began, as did poetry.
Growing up, I always imagined what the world would look like from the other side of the horizon of endless ocean and sky. I was one of those kids who would read his school textbooks, just to get an idea what it was like living in those countries foreign to me. That’s why I love researching and sharing what I’ve come to acknowledge as a plausible answer to an open-ended question. I wanted to travel and experience life the way other people did. From different viewpoints, accents, especially food—I mean, anything I didn’t know, I wanted to experience and try.
As for poetry, it was back in middle school when I received a class assignment to write a poem. Being fact based, I wrote and turned it in. It was my first lesson in poetry—and my first failed assignment. My teacher’s exact words were, “There was no emotion or imagination in your writing. You’re too factual, loosen up.” I remember going home and looking up everything I could on poetry. We didn’t have a computer yet. So, I resorted to using my encyclopedias. From then on, I would practice and practice until finally, when we did get our computer, I submitted a poem to a poetry contest online. It was a few weeks later that I received a letter in the mail saying that I was getting my poem published in a coffeehouse book! I was so excited and remembered priding myself in that accomplishment. But, I didn’t take criticism too well, at least in my earlier days because of that pride. It wasn’t until recently, I found that poetry was as endless as the same ocean and sky where everything began. I consider myself a student now to its vast knowledge and philosophy hidden within each line.
When I started Jar of Poetry on September 2, 2019, I was actually really hesitant! I had a poetry blog before and after a few months of writing in it, I stopped. I burned out. I didn’t want that to happen again but I also didn’t want to just put something up for people to see. I wanted to share an experience that I know other people go through when they write. I also wanted to experiment with how my audio versions would be. (I’m a part time audiobook narrator—but we can talk about that later.)
Looking back on the entries, I can tell you from my heart that I am truly happy. I am easily fascinated by the thoughts, stories, and imaginations of so many people. At times, I feel like a hindrance when I leave a comment on someone’s work. But honestly, I really am amazed by their piece and would like to know more behind it—without pushing too much. When I write, I really am free. And being around others who write, I’m proud to be alongside those who are also free.
Going forward with Jar of Poetry, the idea behind it still fascinates me. Being able to see what poetry is in my eyes and sharing it with you, is what I feel was missing from my writing. Expect to see more stories, thoughts, and imaginations behind each poem I publish or that people care to share. I can tell you that I am looking forward to doing more entries and for October. For this entry though, I just wanted to spend some time with you and talk about this blog for a bit. My only hope is that you’ll stick with me so we can grow together as writers and learn from each other.
With that said, thank you so much for your time today. If you haven’t already, consider “Following” or stopping by from time to time. New content will be published on Sundays, Eastern Standard Time (EST). I’m John-Anthony and this is “OUR” Jar of Poetry, take care.