Welcome to the next installment of my series “Behind the Poems.” You can read the other posts here.
“The Crayola Dance” is the last piece published in The Cypress Dome, UCF’s literary journal.
As you can see from above, I am not an HTML coder and cannot properly display the poem but this is close enough.
I have an obsession with color. My mom even tells the story all the time of how she taught me to read. She had to color in the white letters on the green chalkboard background of the alphabet posters she bought. It was the only way to capture my attention.
Naturally, I leaned toward coloring books which means I had to have the Crayola box. My mom even sprung for the 64-count box with the built-in crayon sharpener. Even more than the colors themselves, I loved the names. I even tried creating a few color combinations myself and giving them new names.
It’s also how I passed the time when my parents dragged us with them to Home Depot. I would stay in the paint aisle, perusing the color cards and marveling at the names, trying to understand how the name of the color could evoke its emotion. What can I say? I was a weird kid.
I experimented with movement on the page with jagged lines to show the difference in movement between the younger and the older. My mother is a dancer, so I wanted to show that with smoother lines that moved gracefully, while the younger, me as a child, are less assured.
My First Published Poems
I haven’t talked about my experience yet with these having these poems published in The Cypress Dome. I submitted them for publication during my last semester, just before I graduated.
In one of my classes, a professor asked if anyone had submitted and had their work accepted for publication. No one raised their hands, myself included, even though I knew I had been accepted. I had a habit of never touting my own accomplishments.
The next thing the professor said gave me pause. “That’s okay. It’s not expected for you to get your work accepted yet. If you do, it usually means you’re not bound to get anything else published ever again.” I don’t remember if those were the exact words, but that was the gist.
My friend sitting next to me, who also knew the journal accepted my work, looked at me out of the corner of her eye, clearly astonished at what our professor had just told us.
I’m happy to say that teacher was wrong, and I have been published a few times since. I continue to submit my work and poetry and hope to one day become a published author of a novel.