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Creating Floating in the Sea: A Collection of Poetry

One of the first big papers we were assigned in my healthcare management course in graduate school was the evaluation of whether management was an art or a science. Of course, management is both an art and a science, and managers are artists and scientists and social scientists and philosophers and educators. Management is not one-dimensional. As such, managers themselves are not one-dimensional, either.

Years after I had finished my graduate program, I learned that the professor who had assigned the paper was himself an artist - a painter. Although I wrote as a hobby, I never considered myself that creative. Several members of my own family were artists, but drawing was not in my DNA. I created pictures with words and wrote "stories" as my family called, although my writing really fell more into the realm of descriptive narratives and poetry.

Last year, I decided I was going to read more. I had always enjoyed reading, and I felt like I was falling behind in the popular literature in my field, as well as in what is considered mainstream fiction and nonfiction. I am a strong believer in reading the latest business best sellers at least, that way I can understand the ideas that people are buying into. Then, I can evaluate those philosophies myself.

One of the books I happened upon was Gretchen Rubin's book, "The Happiness Project." I would say this book was easily in my top five reads last year. In the book, Rubin discusses how she wrote more and wrote little books here and there as part of her overall project. She completed the projects she had already started.

Since I have been writing since I was 8 or 9 years old, I had quite the collection of material to develop a book of some type I decided. I wrote my first novel in National Novel Writing Month (which I have yet to publish and doubt that I will), and I also wrote a children's book that had been sitting in the back of my head for years. The best part of writing the books was feeling a sense of accomplishment, that I had finally taken something off my plate.

When I visited my favorite book buying spot a couple of months ago,  I noticed a book of poetry on the shelf. I thought to myself, "Hmmm...I have plenty of material to write a book of poetry at home." I dug out my old journals and my old poems, and I went to work. I found I did have enough material for a book. However, a group of poems about such varied topics didn't seem to jive with what I was hoping to achieve. As a result, I decided on a group of poems that had an underlying course poets love to write about love...and created a story out of those poems. I added more poems to the second half of the book to give it substance and a plot. Then, voila, I had a short poetry book ready to publish within a few weeks.

The book's title, Floating in the Sea, came from the first poem in the series. I found it appropriate for a love story about a woman who seemed lost and constantly searching for love. During its promotional period, the book made it to the top 100 best seller's list at #72. I was happy with that result, since not that many people are really into free verse poetry. More importantly, I stretched my writing muscle and exercised my creative strengths as a manager and a leader.