I remember an evening laying with you,
Backs down on the top deck of the Sands’ pier.
It was late, though sleep never touched our eyes
And we wandered aimlessly–morphing cumuli across the islands.
We were a living young adult novel:
Two best friends swapping secret dreams under a candid sky,
Planning for futures, for obstacles, for premature deaths
that have now long since passed.
We were like that,
Skipping from one backdrop to another,
On the brink of adulthood, invincible but perpetually fragile;
Lingering away from home each night, testing boundaries,
Blatantly symbolizing our teenage freedom.
You patted my hand and pointed at a cluster of clouds
Inching towards the moon.
“Hand of God” you murmured.
As the appendage stretched to grasp the moon in its clutches,
I responded, “Seize it! Seize it!”
My own hand reaching up too.
I’ve begun writing everyday.
Ok for 3 days.
They are 100 word pieces like I have been submitting on here (off and on) for the past couple of years.
In case you are looking for the prompt, I downloaded the Webster dictionary app and have been writing pieces based off of the “Word of the Day”. Perhaps it’s not complicated enough, but it saves me having to randomly point to words in a dictionary or find inspiration in the same environments I am exposed to everyday.
There is also much that has changed in my life since the last post. Mostly good, some bad, some merely products of time.
I’m still struggling, but I’m still fighting.
Hoping you, too,are persisting.
I was so excited about this month; about writing and sharing the good and bad product of the NaPoWriMo challenge with you all. I mean, I’ve been involved in it for the past 3 years, off and on this blog. Unfortunately, I came across a few too many obstacles in no specific order:
- I started traveling at the beginning of the month to visit with family and friends–some of whom I had not seen in over two years. So the voyage was necessary, but also wore me out. Especially after factoring in the time I spent actually travelling from place to place throughout SC. And obligatory as it was, my routine has been completely thrown off–and even a week after returning to the farm I am still struggling to hit my stride again.
- I’ve also spent the past several weeks searching for a teaching job. This has required a lot of research, and (because I’m me) a lot of OCD spreadsheet-making before I was even ready to begin actually applying/sending out resumes and honing cover letters for specific schools. I’m actually still waiting to begin on the last part, due to procrastination, fear of rejection and a general sense of doubt now that I’m in the thick of it.
- Whether it’s because of the job anxiety, or the traveling/major extroversion, or loss of routine, I’ve found myself floating above the abyss that I call depression. I’ve dipped into it momentarily a few times in the past month, but so far, each day I get up and try again. Obviously, I don’t want to abandon myself to it, and I also really don’t have time for it–but the struggle definitely leaves me exhausted and lacking in major focus. Focus, which I need for job applications as much as for writing. And, honestly, I hoped that the writing exercise could jump start the job exercise–since, if I do get a job, most of my creativity will be geared towards teaching instead of my own personal explorations, simply because of time constraints, for the next couple of years.
- For the first ten days or so of NaPoWriMo I also didn’t find myself that inspired by the prompts. Perhaps because I was anticipating more form prompts instead of these abstract/idea prompts. Or maybe because the “Curse of the Thesis” still has a hold on me and I’m still trying to move on from that project but haven’t gathered enough space yet to generate enough creativity. Or I have sapped my reserves in trying to craft a various amount of gifts for the people I went to visit (they all received belated christmas/birthday/housewarming/marriage/baby gifts). However, as I’ve gone through the past few days and their prompts, and as I try to resume my walks to regulate my routine and my cognitive function, I’ve seen some options that have sparked an idea, and have had time to think about a prompt and begin to develop something in my mind. So we’ll see if anything can come from it, with only 10 days left of the challenge.
So, that’s some of what’s going on in my headspace and why I have not been able to fulfill my promise to myself and to you, those who do read and enjoy what I put forth. There was actually a previous version of this post, and chances are it was either whinier or at the very least had a less logical voice–having written it last night at 1am, after losing an entire questionnaire I had typed up for a job due to an app crash on my iPad. And then losing a completed blog post after another app crashed on my Ipad. Suffice it to say, I gave up and went to bed to try again today on a more reliable source. And while, today I’m not where I want to be, I am a little bit closer, and I know tomorrow, I’ll be another step ahead. So I hope something creative will come from that, as much as something productive in regards to my other duties at present.
Hoping that if you are struggling through something that it gets resolved soon, or that the struggle becomes easier to manage with each day.
I know I haven’t posted anything in quite a few months, but I must admit it is for a very good reason.
I have been working feverishly and trying to stay extremely positive (with great effort, I will admit) towards finishing up my thesis and my MFA.
I am elated to say, though, that last Monday I defended my thesis for an hour and a half and somehow it was passed. And today, after getting all of my signatures and making edits, I submitted my thesis Stranger Things Have Happened: A Collection for binding and submission to the university. So, I guess I’m officially done!
My director is pushing me to start submitting things, but I think she will also forgive me if I let the pages sit for a little bit before going back to them. After all, I have to start looking for income now!
I thought maybe I wanted to spend a moment in reflection about the MFA and the process, but I don’t want to color it rosy and act like it was a wonderful experience, because it really wasn’t–and for many different reasons. However, I am thankful for some of the things I had the chance to do, and for some of the people I would have never met or had the guts to meet if I hadn’t enrolled in the program. And especially because of the writing that I may never have written if I hadn’t been forced to because of a due date.
But of course, there is still much to do, so wander off now I probably will.
I hope to resume the 100 words pieces if not weekly, bi-monthly as well as some sporadic musings and sketches.
Hoping that whomever this reaches is having a happy holiday, and that they meet the new year with bright eyes and kind hearts.
Just wanted to write a little aside about how I have had this blog for 3 years with a total of 120 posts. I think the majority of those posts have been within the past five months, but who’s to say.
And also ask those in the internetverse to throw some creative juices and focus and strength my way. I have 10 pages of draft to write up by Monday and after that probably another 50 or so to punch out by August. It is my continued hope that the weekly 100s and the constant reading that I have been doing of late will aid towards these goals, but any support in words or caffeine is appreciated 🙂 I’ll be kind in returning!
“Fairfax, South Carolina”
Magnolia cones lie, red berries crushed against sidewalk, buried in overgrown lawn. The petals, long ago bruised and wilting, have blown into suburban gutters. He tries to make it up once a month to mow; air out the house; remember.
Fifteen years and by now he starts to feel nothing except a musky heaviness. Mildew has seeped into the cabinets and wrap-around polyester couch. He sees only the hospital bed in the living room, instead of the swivel armchairs he used to play in.
Looking out to the yard, ghosts of daughters run—swinging along tree branches, riding bikes up the block. He will find them at home, grown and smelling of flowers.
We never say we are going to Papa’s or Dad’s house. It has always been, will always be, Granny’s or Mama’s. Even though their patriarchal hands hammered the nails that shelters our visits, it is always the matronly warmth that caulks the gaps.
It clings to our clothes when we leave, a guiding sealant reminding us to eat, brush our teeth, be open to love.
Inherited, I hope, so that light may be blessed upon children and children’s children. Crafting the home with embraces and tears. So that even as we pass, the mothers of the past, the bond between boards only strengthen—the home that men built and women filled.
Today’s poem is supposed to be pastoral. Mine turned into an epiphany–perhaps poorly worded, maybe not conveying the full extent of my feelings, but it’s an attempt nonetheless. Also, I love the beach a lot. The end. 8 days left of the challenge!
is the word to use to describe as I pause outside myself
on Hunting Island, the North Beach.
the tide is out farther than my memory can recall and
it leaves remnants of the ocean in its wake.
children, dogs, older couples comb the sand,
inspecting what was living, what is still alive.
while we should smell death from the baking jellyfish,
the drying sand dollars, the waterlogged crustaceans,
the sea absorbs it, or perhaps it makes the smell new—
mixed with salt, fish and Coppertone.
seagulls alight and peck at hermit crabs.
dolphins and pelicans alike dive at fish along the waves.
humans collect shells,
they cast out lines and nets.
they build castles, dig moats—and watch them wash away.
Life, as we forget to see it,
in all of its cycles:
foul and wondrous,
superfluous and necessary,
impossible and real.
this is its own poetry.
Flaking snakeskin bark, she climbs the pines and forgets her age. If she can make it to the top, where the trunk bows with each small breeze, she will never have to go back. If she can grip pine cones in her palm and not grimace; if the cone snaps from the tree, she will have won strength. If she can still feel the caress and stab of the needles through bark-worn skin, she will know humility. She climbs branches without pause, eager for a treeline she knows she can never safely achieve. But still she climbs, anticipating the lurch.
NaPoWriMo’s day 8 calls for a palinode, or a poem that retracts a statement from a previous poem. I kind of took my own spin on it. Focusing has been difficult these past few days, so hopefully it is cohesive enough. I worry about it sounding plain, but that may be all I can truly muster at this point in time. Either way it revisits an episode that I haven’t been able to process in words, so I guess this is cathartic as much as writing for a prompt today.
I no longer look forward to meeting you,
the man who feigned sincerity–
I still can’t help but wonder, though
How much was a lie?
Only because I can never know.
You, who are now a ghost,
afraid of your own presence
I won’t take back the lessons, though.
Not just of caution,
but also, simultaneously, discovering how to open up again
(in spite of you–of them.)
Someone else will benefit from your retraction.
Your fear will be their courage.
Your face, replaced by another, more beautiful glow.