1. We’ve forgotten what it means to feel ‘bored’. We’re in constant pursuit of the next line or idea that will be the basis of our next piece – so even if we’re not particularly interested in what’s being talked about, we’re engaged nonetheless because we’ve experienced that ideas can come from literally anywhere. In fact, there’s a unique satisfaction in being able to say ‘this was inspired by when they brought out the accounting ledger’, so we actually find these situations even more interesting!
2. Our world has become deeper because we’ve become more observant. This is like the long-term consequence of the above. As poets, we like to add ‘meat’ to our subjects by way of interesting similes and metaphors, so we’re always keenly analyzing real-world objects to build up a database in our heads. It’s my hypothesis that over time, our subconscious just learns to pay attention to everything, and we find ourselves thinking of even the most mundane of experiences as ‘intense’. It’s refreshing, actually.
3. We’ve found a way to experience that pure, untainted childlike joy. In those moments when we have an idea that we like, or when two lines go together well, or when someone happens to decide that their favorite line is the same as ours in that piece, the thrill we experience is just so sweet!
4. Our work has sometimes paved the way for new friendships. I’m happy to announce that my shameless ‘I try to write, can I self-promote and get you to read something?’ on first meetings, in response to the inevitable ‘what are your interests?’ have opened gates of communication that have then led to wonderful friendships with people I probably wouldn’t have spoken to again otherwise. Hooray!
5. We get to connect more deeply with people. It’s often said that an audience projects a little bit of itself into art – so when friends and readers tell us what they’re seeing in something we’ve written, we get an honest, unfakeable glimpse of the person we’re talking to. It’s just nice to feel like you’re really connecting with someone, you know?
6. Negative experiences aren’t all bad – they suck, yeah, but they also give us something to write about! (Or maybe it’s just me in this one, I don’t want to assume for anyone else). I don’t know how healthy it is to dwell on those emotions – sometimes it’s cathartic, but other times I suspect I might be propagating the negativity as I try to ‘juice out’ every emotion I’ve felt, but either way, it’s given me content and ideas. So, you know. Silver lining.
7. We’ve grown emotionally as we’ve gained (and continue to gain) perspective on the extent of how much mood can color a particular situation. That piece we wrote when our heart was bleeding out and we thought it personified how we felt, 100%? On happier days we’re a little taken aback by how dark our writing was. This awareness of how dramatic the shift can be helps us take a step back when we’re in other emotionally charged situations and makes it easier to trust that this, too, shall pass.
8. We’ve gotten better at figuring out when there’s content to be read between the lines (and spotting flowery fluff when it’s been included for the sake of it). I’ll be blunt – that’s basically what we create! Again, this might be a double-edged sword – there’s a risk of becoming paranoid overthinkers, but I also think those tendencies existed even prior (and that is why we got into trying to write poetry in the first place), so we’re actually better off for our writing.
9. Our ‘see-the-bigger-picture’ skills have been enhanced. Sometimes, the things we write are all centered about a theme that presents in the very last line (sometimes we write the ending first!) As a result, we’re always conscious of how whatever is being said, or whatever is happening, might just lead to something very different that ‘fits’ but we aren’t able to foresee, and it becomes easier to trust that things will make more sense afterwards even if they don’t now.
10. We can find the brighter side pretty easily. Again, call this a consequence of practice, but when you’re used to looking at things like salt and pins and finding enough ideas to fill two pages of praise, even on a gloomy day it’s easy to enjoy the ambience.
11. Writing poetry has opened up new avenues to ‘fun’: our friends sometimes ask us to translate their writings into a dialect of flowery-speak to give the mundane an aura of exoticness, which is truly very enjoyable. Have no doubts that it was a poet who came up with ‘aquathermal treatment of ceramics, aluminum and steel under a constrained environment’ as a euphemism for ‘doing dishes under the supervision of my wife’!