I wrote this poem for my daughter Katie when she tried out for a play. She wanted the part of Peter Pan. She got the part of the crocodile! She also got a lifelong friend out of that little production and I think if you asked her, she’d say the experience was a positive one, even though the outcome was not what she went looking for.
We all try out all the time — plays, sports, musical competitions — the list is endless. As a poet, everyday for me is an audition. I’m submitting work to publishers, trying to win over audiences, and connecting with other writers, making plans. I’ve always thought that being a poet is kind of like having a tag sale for my thoughts. I lay stuff out on the table, people come and take a look. Some say, I don’t need that. Some say, I have that at home. And a few say, cool, I’ll take that. Sometimes life give me what I want, and sometimes I get the crocodile, but there are benefits to every experience. Okay. A few scars. But even those can make a good story or poem.
The important thing I have to remind myself of, just as regularly as the moon rises, is that I have to keep trying. It’s scary. Sometimes it’s just plain exhausting. Most times, I love the adventure of a new challenge.
I chose the changing colors of the sky to represent my moods when I think about trying something new. Sometimes bright, occasionally dark, and ultimately sunny. This poem has been in two of my books: My very first book Nothing’s the End of the World (now sadly out of print) and Zombies! Evacuate the School (Boyds Mills 2010). But the thing I am most proud of is that Katie was chosen to speak at her graduation from Bay Village High School and she chose this poem as the theme of her speech.