It's Not You... It's Poetry

It's Not You... It's Poetry

by Debbie Feit

Dear Untitled Project,

It’s not you, it’s me. 

I didn’t spend any time playing the field. (Well, not since I was with my high school’s literary journal, but, looking back, I realize I was too young to know what I really wanted.) I just dove in blindly and ended up in a long-term relationship that in the end went nowhere. I was hurt. Rejected. Boy, was I rejected. But I knew I needed to put myself back out there. 

Then I met you. 

And I felt that spark once more. You were funny and intelligent and sensitive… everything I was looking for in a creative outlet. You always had a way of surprising me. And as we got to know each other, my feelings only grew stronger. Soon, we were spending all our time together. There was something exhilarating about our rendezvous at my office when we would sneak into an empty conference room on my lunch hour so we could be with each other. Or meeting you at Panera after dropping my kids off at Sunday school. Some days we couldn’t be pried apart. And it wasn’t long before we were completing each other’s sentences. 

I was fully committed to you. To us. I thought we were in it for the long haul… second printing, audiobooks, paperback edition, movie rights, the whole thing. It was so easy to envision our future together.

But then… I don’t know. Something shifted. I found myself looking for excuses for us not to be together. You just required so much attention…more than I could give. I realized I was editing myself around you and it wore on me. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I became attracted to other genres and I started writing around behind your back. It wasn’t with anyone you know…it was with poetry. At first, I thought maybe this was just infatuation and the feelings would pass. But time went on and my feelings only became more intense.

I realized I was falling in love. 

Poetry was so much easier to be with. They weren’t looking for a long-term commitment. They were fun and flexible and open to experimenting. They weren’t afraid to break the rules. You always insisted we follow an outline and were reluctant to veer from it for fear of getting lost. Maybe getting lost once in a while would have been good for us…maybe our story might have taken a different turn.

With poetry, I could finally date and explore my options. Sure, there was some real assonance out there, but I think…no…I know I’ve found the one. They have such an interesting way with words; I don’t always understand what they mean, but I actually think that adds a little mystery to the relationship. It was easy for us to find our rhythm and are now very happy as a couplet.

I know what you’re going to say… you want us to talk with a developmental editor to see if they can help smooth things out between us, but honestly, it feels like we’ve missed that deadline. When I think about the time and energy we would need to put in to make this work…well, I just don’t think we’re meant to be. Please know, you’re a wonderful manuscript and any writer would be thrilled to have their name alongside yours.

I hope you’ll one day find it in your heart to forgive me. I never meant to string you along. I always thought we’d be together until… the end.




Featured in our September 2023 issue, "Jokes"