An amateur is a person who:
a) does something for pleasure and not as a job
b) does something poorly : a person who is not skillful at a job or other activity
(Definition from Merriam-Webster)
I love writing poetry. It helps makes sense of my life, it indulges my passion for how words sound, how they feel rolling from my tongue. It is a pleasure to respond to other writers’ works – in a comment, in my heart, in writing another poem. On a good day, when composing my own work my heart quickens, my brain works quickly to find new connections, and matched sounds forge a new, exciting music. It’s like a dream where everything in my life becomes muddled by association: I am smudged with a cherry tree in blossom, my grandmother’s hands smooth down the bed which I write upon, the sun’s eclipse is a cicada casting off its old shell, and I am that cicada.
I am not paid for this any more than I receive payment for breathing. This is words for words’ sake, writing for writings’ sake. I reclaim the word amateur. This is not about writing poorly. Being an amateur writer has nothing do with my level of skill. I can take pride in being an amateur because:
I write poetry only for love’s sake.