I consider myself a poet. Obviously there are some poetry publications, both online and in hard cover, who agree with me to some extent. I've had some of my poetry published and have even gotten small monetary stipends.
I've been writing poetry since 1964 and most of you have never heard of me. So, obviously, I spent my life working a so called "middle class" job within a middle class life story. I worked for a Fortune 500 multinational corporation for twenty-five years. After receiving bonus after bonus after bonus for exemplary work, I was "delayered" (Orwell was a genius) in 1997. This was three years before I could have officially retired and enjoyed the health benefits of an "official" retiree.
During my working years, I took a sabbatical from writing. In fact, I was treated so well, and deservedly so, by the corporation, that I lost touch with what was important in the world. Believe it or not, I was so disinterested in this "thing called NAFTA", that I didn't even know what it really was, let alone what it meant sociologically.
When I found I had some time on my hands, I began writing again. This may be more a critique of my writing than anything else, but, for me, when I found the right inspiration, writing poetry (and music) was like getting right back on the horse or bike after taking a spill. I didn't seem to notice the huge gap.