Blue to the front
and green to the back.
Nothing but mountain and sky
for miles above and below.
Sitting in a plastic box, miles
above the surface, life stands
still. It’s just an expanse all around
and nothing else matters.
I don’t feel small or insignificant
or afraid. I just feel a part of it
forever expanding, my lungs
feebly mimicking the experience
in a way the human mind
comprehends. I see the top
where sky meets earth, still
unable to see where one begins
and the other ends. The lines
just bleed and my veins try
to mirror the phenomenon.
But we can’t.
Originally shared on my Instagram.
I may have mentioned before how I work full time and go to grad school part time. So, when does that leave time for writing? The answer is virtually never, and it kind of eats at me sometimes. There are some nights after work and studying that I do have a couple of hours to myself where I do have time to write, but I don’t take advantage of it. Instead, I catch up on TV or reading. Does this make me a bad writer? I don’t practice my craft as often as I should. I know I shouldn’t get too down on myself for this because the truth is, I’m mentally exhausted after work and studying, but is that just an excuse? Then again, is it fair to my characters and stories and poetry if I try to work on them when my brain is fried?
I recently completed a poetry chapbook manuscript that I’ve been working on for over a year. It felt so strange to finally finish something that it left me with a sense of doubt as to if it was really finished and ready to be sent out into the world. Maybe the full-time worker/part-time grad student is the excuse I give myself to procrastinate on finishing something, because once I’m done, am I really done? Is it really ready? I imagine even full-time writers have this anxiety. Artists never truly feel like their work is ready for the world to see. Or maybe we just feel like the world isn’t ready to see our work? How many times do we see a look back on some work and see critics say, “It was ahead of its time.”? Nobody wants posthumous recognition.
So, here I am with a completed manuscript, and I haven’t done anything with it since I finished it a week ago. Granted, I spend 10 hours working, including the commute. Then, I have to take a break when I get home, otherwise I’ll lose my mind. Then it’s off to do reading or answer discussion questions or research current events or work on a term paper, and by the time I’m finished it’s 9 p.m. and yeah that makes me seem like an old lady, but it’s close to bed time and all I wanna do is read my book club book because I borrowed it from the library and I gotta finish it within a certain time frame. How did I even finish that manuscript? Oh yeah, at the pace of an animal I’d imagine as a hybrid between a sloth and a turtle. Slow and steady wins the race? Is it a race? I know I shouldn’t think of it as such, but when I just turned 27 and I’ve considered myself a writer since high school and I’ve barely had anything published, does that make me a loser?
For anyone experiencing what I am, I’m sorry I don’t have clear answers for the questions posed. I suppose there is no right answer though, and everyone has to come to their own conclusions to get them through the writers’ process. That’s different than the writing process, as the two are not the same. Writing and being a writer that is. How do you all deal with the existential dread of calling yourselves writers?
The following poem was originally featured at my other writing blog here. My friends and I did a poetry writing challenge in which we wrote pieces inspired by music from Florence and the Machine, and created Floetry. This piece has a particular structure on the page that I cannot replicate through WordPress because HTML is hard, so instead, I give you a photo.
Aside from taking inspiration from the song “Spectrum” and making a poem for the girls we met at the concert we’d attended that May, I’d also written it not long after the events of what happened at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The poem turned out to be kind of a tribute to that as well, so I thought I’d share it with all of you.
The following is a poem I wrote for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge back in February. Here’s a link to the original page and image that inspired this work:
This is just a single piece. A fragment of imagination as a childish
version remembers it. Patchwork puzzle piece across America where all
highways and blue skies with clouds look suspiciously the same.
Put it together with its brothers and sisters in a grid system of soft
cotton squares, up and down, side to side, neverending lines flowing
into each other can’t tell where one piece starts and the other part ends.
Brown and tan strips of land that is your land. Black asphalt roads from
tattered flaps of fabric mimicking broken infrastructure whose rough edges
can be seen as far as the eye can see but whose dangerous potholes hide in its
inky nature.Yellow threads pushed to the side just barely register as vague
fields of corn and wheat we hardly notice under our feet.
America the beautiful, so wide and spanning the color spectrum
but we only see a piece.
Here’s my poem from Lady Lit Magazine published last month. A little late but that’s the life these days. Click the pic to follow the link.
*Screenshot from Lady Lit Magazine website.