I Almost Gave Up Being A Writer

5 poems that kept me going

Harley Bell


by Harley Bell

I’ve given up writing more times than I’d like to admit.

Life gets busy. Bills need paying. Routine sets in. Then it slowly grinds the imagination to dust.

But dust is enough to make us sneeze. Sometimes, it takes an allergic reaction to remember our dreams. Breathe deep. These poems are a pattern interruption.

I’ve always come back to writing. It’s been difficult every time but these poems are like lighthouses in a storm.

They kept me going when I felt like giving up.

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.” — Allen Ginsberg

I was 16 and my parents wanted me to become a plumber. They told me there was good money in the trades. There is honour in helping people flush away their shit. Instead, I chose to sift through the slurry and pour it onto the page. For better or worse, I wanted to become a writer.

I’d never read a good poem in my life. I thought poetry was pretentious. During high school English class, we spent long, dull hours, dissecting the meaning and metaphors of old white dudes. Then a friend of mine introduced me to Howl by Allen Ginsberg.

It blew my teenage mind. His poetry was visceral, angry, lyrical and weird. I felt for the first time that someone else saw through the bullshit of the world and found beauty within it. This meant everything to me.

Then I read about the court case to ban the book. This fuelled my hunger.

I transcribed the entire poem in an A3 notebook. This could have been the moment I irrevocably, disappointed my parents. It was the moment I dedicated myself to the arts.

The Breeze at Dawn by Rumi



Harley Bell

I write about writing, creativity and business. I'm currently working on a poetry book, titled Wild Altar. www.harleybellwriter.com