musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Poetry Challenge – Day 24

Welcome to Day 24 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

Comment on today’s poem to win a copy of my poetry book, “(After) Confession… I’m giving away a copy every day. Scroll down below the poem for more details about this Poetry Challenge.

But first, congratulations, Martha B, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Martha, please email me your address so I can send your prize:

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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All the art here is from my sketchbooks over the years, some of my “better” work. Believe me, I have so many pages of clunkers and mis-trials, but I’m not brave enough to show those! I’ve learned so much and found the enjoyment in all of it.  Any other little-a artists and experimenters out there?

Love at First Art


Like you, I was once a brilliant artist.
Crayons and markers were my specialty.
I spent hours expressing whatever
I wanted, blissfully, colorfully,
art that hung on walls, home and school,
for all to see.
I never questioned my abilities. Talent?
It was fun. I was proud
to show everyone
what I made.

Of course that got fucked up big time.
Comparison and grades and criticism
took their toll. When was it? I don’t recall.
Probably the on-rush of pre-adolescence, when
many unwanted visitors arrived:
doubt, zits, mean girls, braces, bad perm, unease,
body shame, a desire to be anybody but myself.
And then drawing? Not me. I can’t draw.

Writing felt safer, more logical.
I was good with words, black marks on white,
an easier way to express. I loved writing,
so I wrote, my creative outlet, decades of
turning imagination into black marks on white.

But in little ways, my old Love called to me.
I got lured into art stores sideways.
I had children who were artists, and I
passionately encouraged them. I’d buy
art supplies for them, then writerly pens
for myself, sketchbooks to journal in. Yet
I marveled at the rainbow of paints, looked
longingly at tall brushes and bright pencils.
I’m a writer, not an artist, I told myself,
and turned away.

But I kept hearing whispers, feeling urges.
I’d see a sale, impulse-buy watercolors,
a little drawing kit. For me! Then quickly hid them
in a drawer at home, a year or two,
not knowing at all what to do.

Eventually, I took them out. Found
gentle books on starting, teachers,
videos, online classes. S-l-o-w-l-y
started my journey back to drawing, art-making, experimenting.
It’s been a zig-zag of frustrations and joys and starts and stops.
And then the familiar pull back to it, all over again.
Learning that the Doing is the magic-place,
not whether my art is “good” or not.
This is what my heart has been longing to do since I left it.
I still love words, but this fills something pre-words
inside me, and oh so colorfully
helps me express me.

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  • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
  • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
  • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

April is National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

This month’s posts are part of the  NaPoWriMo challenge — that’s National Poetry Writing Month. At, you’ll find links to other participating writers and their poetry. AND daily writing prompts for inspiration to write your own poems. Check them out.

I’m so looking forward to your comments–  it doesn’t have to be about the poem. Write anything, share the name of your favorite poet or poem, write about the weather, whatever! And thanks for reading.

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Photo credit: it’s all me, baby


  1. Shari

    My guess is that you stopped drawing when someone said, “That’s doesn’t look like a ______.” As a former art teacher, I became aware that that kind of criticism was something my students needed to unlearn. We are bombarded with others’ opinions from the time we pick up a crayon or try to make our first letter of the alphabet. It takes time and experience to learn to filter out unhelpful noise.

    • Shari

      Oops! I meant “students needed to unlearn.”

      • Theresa Alberti

        It’s okay, I changed it! 🙂

    • Theresa Alberti

      I didn’t know you’d been an art teacher! So true, Shari, and I honestly can’t say if it was outside feedback for me, or just my own internal judgments and criticism kicking in. But of course it’s so hard when you are young to know how to filter any of that out.

  2. Martha Bilski

    Nice. I too left the visual arts and wrote instead. Now I scratch away on paper and canvas.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Yes, I think there are many of us who did! Writing is definitely my passion, but I get a lot out of letting myself mess around with color and lines. It’s much more playful, and I need more play.

  3. Ann Hobbs

    Too true for too many, I.m going to get out my cray- pas

  4. Barbara Moffett

    I think it was you who introduced me to “SketchBook Skool”! And I’m still having fun with it. This poem reminds me of my impression that this series is kinda like you’re writing your memoirs in poetry.

    • Theresa Alberti

      A lot of poetry does feel like memoir to me, especially when I really have to work to come up with topics for poems day after day like this. And yes, Sketchbook Skool was part of my learning. It’s such a good resource.

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