Introspective Series: "Barely Breathing: A Blessing or Curse?"

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a first of a series of essays, we are looking at the rise to poetry fame of my poem "Barely Breathing" and debate on whether it was a blessing or curse.

Submitted: August 05, 2017

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Submitted: August 05, 2017



The purpose of this series is to look back at some of my poetry works and the reaction that it brought with them.  The first introspective story that I want to share is the rise of my poetic fame; when one of my poems got featured on the Booksie homepage.  Quite a honor, at least that is how I felt at the time.  However, looking back at it after some time away, I am not sure if the poem was a blessing or a curse.  Allow me to explain the story...

Back in 2012, I wrote a break-up poem called "Barely Breathing".  Now at that time, I was doing a lot of dating and as you can probably guess, it wasn't going to so well.  Hence, why I am writing break-up poems.  Anyway, I posted this poem and by this point, I had a small, but loyal following, which I was okay with.  Some of the poets, I became pen pals with and still communicate to this day.  However, the poem later got a lot of comments from users that I wasn't accustomed too.  I would discover that my poem got featured on the homepage.  Now, being featured on the site's homepage is what every writer could only dream about.  That's like prime real estate for writers, because you are getting the spotlight on YOU!  And I do mean YOU!  

Soon, the readers start pouring in.  The comments start pouring in.  For awhile, I felt like the "IT" poet of Booksie.  I felt admired and I felt like a celebrity of sorts, however, like the old saying, "Fame comes with a price."  And oh, did I ever pay a price.  Let me start off by giving a couple examples, the first example is...EXPECTATION!  With the spotlight shining bright on you, there now lies that expectation that you will deliver great pieces of work and content for your viewers.  My first post-feature was a poem titled "Don't Tell Me" and it didn't live up the hype.  I didn't get anywhere near the amount of reaction that I was hoping for.  Second example is HATERS!  Shortly after the admiration came in, the haters began to follow.  I was bullied and my poem was crucified in more ways than one.  Now, this was before you had to be a member of Booksie in order to comment on someone's work.  In other words, any person in the whole wide world could comment on your poem whether they were a member or not.  As a result, I got comments back that were down right mean and uncalled for.  Along with that, the poem itself got crucified.  It wasn't a good experience to go through, but it was definitely a learning lesson.  

Ever since the featured piece, I have never been able to live up to the hype or the expectations.  It is very tough because you want your work to be widely viewed and leave some kind of an impact on people.  However, when you are held to that standard, it is really difficult to stay there.  I have no regrets to writing the poem "Barely Breathing", however, I felt that other poems like "LoveStruck", "Facebook Addict", "War and Peace", "Love Remains the Same", and my more recent works were up to the quality and level of expectation.  I have taken a lot of hiatuses as of late, because of not just life, but being featured has put me in a spot where I can't just write shitty material and pass it off as great content.  it doesn't work that way.

At the end of the day, I have just learned to appreciate the works that I have done and appreciate my time under the 'featured' spotlight.  My advice to anyone that wants to achieve that level of poetic fame is, "Be yourself and don't focus on trying to be featured."  Its a heavy burden because once you are featured people will judge all of your work on just that one piece of content.  So just focus on being a good writer and not just for the sake of being featured.  


- Christian Taylor

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