Posted in Blog, General

2019 Goals!

I don’t do resolutions, but goals are just as great! Here are some of my writing-specific goals for this year:

  • Keep writing
  • Keep submitting
  • Submit more than I did in 2018
  • Complete 3 30-in-30s! (One in January with my little, one in April for NaPoWriMo, and one for Zoetic Press if they have WLYA this year)
  • Write more confessional poems and pieces
  • Become a featured reader
  • Expand my writing themes past relationships and blackness. Hopefully compile a chapbook about family, but we’ll see how that goes.
  • Not give up on a manuscript as a whole. I may give up on individual pieces but overall, I’ll try not to give up on them as much as I used to. I have a steadily growing slush pile
  • Be more intentional about writing this year. Get more organized.
  • Not be scared to self-promote
  • Apply for MFA programs (laugh with me)

Feel free to hold me accountable to these things and ask questions/for updates on any of them. Or if you want to be my cheerleader, be my guest!

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Posted in Uncategorized

It’s the end of 2018. Where did time go?

I’ve been slacking on updates and reminders and a little writing. This summer and fall have been absolute whirlwinds, both professionally and personally, but here are some things I am grateful for and some things I have accomplished in 2018:

  • I had my first poetry reading. Yes, it was a short reading. Yes, there were other readers there, but I was still chosen to stand in front of people to share my work. This was nerve-wracking and terrifying and I didn’t really look up much the whole time, but I did it.
  • I got a new job! I’m still wrangling children, but I’m in one location instead of all over the county. I may have less time for writing and editing during the day, but the work I do is incredibly rewarding minus the temper tantrums and talking back and physical altercations.
  • I’ve put together two new manuscripts. Though one I am simply using for personal reasons and probably will not mass produce it (Can’t share yet, guys, sorry!), the other I am starting to send out. Though it got rejected from one press already, the editor has chosen some poems to make into a chaplet and publish, so that is exciting! The chapbook as a whole might make a few people mad, but I don’t care. The subject wanted me to be honest, so now is that time. It feels like a punch to the gut, but they deserve it. I’m not playing nice anymore.
  • I’m learning to love myself and my work more. I’m editing poems from years ago, finding some potential, but I am also learning myself to know when poems just need to be dropped.
  • I reconnected with my big sister and we get to do work-shopping things. Same with my little sister. Hollins did some good.
  • I completed two 30-in-30s. I used to barely be able to do one. But daily writing exercises have definitely helped with getting things out, even if I don’t always like what comes.
  • A few of my favorite poems from the past couple of years have found homes, and I’ve also written a few new favorites.
  • I’ve applied to several fellowships and presses that I would have never applied to previously, and I’m starting to get serious about grad school and getting an MFA. I just need to find programs that will work for me.
Posted in Blog, FYMBF, General

I’m struggling and why that’s okay

Hey y’all,

So, first and foremost that 30 in 30 I did in April really did a number on me (especially since I wrote more than thirty poems), but guess what? I’m doing it again this summer as part of Zoetic Press’ challenge. this will be year #3 and they say third time is a charm right? Only this time (at least I’m hoping it works the way I planned), I’ll be writing more of FYMBF, one of the memoirs I’m working on, and it scares me. This book hurts to write now, so I can only think about what it feels like as I go deeper and deeper.

Imagine patchworking a wound shut with a rusted needle, razors, and duct tape only to re-open the wound with a knife and salt it with every word you write. Everything that comes out tastes like bile, sounds like skidding tires or 6th graders talking at high volume for hours on end with no window for relief or at least to open it to the world.

But all of this comes with the process. The hurt is temporary. This hurt is every piece of closure I wanted but never fully got. I’m creating a space With this book, a lot of things will be over. And people might hate me if I put it all out there. People might try to claim it was all my fault, some of which I already own up to, and some of which couldn’t be helped in that situation. People might not think I’m telling the truth, but I am. It’s my truth, and truth in itself is relative.

Oh the joy of being a writer, of telling stories that aren’t exclusively yours. Of falling in love with yourself and who you’ve become since.

I can’t wait for this story to be told.

 

Posted in Blog, General

NaPoWriMo 2018

I think I conquered this challenge. It helps that I do 2 free-writes every day Monday to Thursday with my kids, but hey, I still did it! And I actually got to poem 36, not 34 like the picture says. I just can’t believe that I did so well.

This is not to say that every poem I wrote last month is the best poem out there — not in the least!

BUT I am writing and experimenting and exploring different things in my writing. That is the most important thing to me right now in my writing journey. A lot of the work I’ve produced makes me think about books. Not chapbooks but actual books. Full-lengths. Several of the poems feature the same theme or can link together in some way, so over the next few months, I’ll be doing just that.

Posted in Blog, General

March Happenings and April Plans

Hi everybody! I haven’t had all that much to report recently as I’m been working two jobs plus running and working my own business (talk about BUSY), but here is what’s been shaking around and what’s going to be happening. Some of this is BIG news, so keep on reading.

In March –

Oh man, March has been a whirlwind. At the beginning of the month (sorry for the lateness, you guys), I got this poem¬†published. It’s on the B-Side, but hey, a publication is a publication, and I will definitely take it. I’ve been working (read: staring at, then inching along) on a few projects and submitting different poems, and compiling different poem packets to send them out to potential presses. I haven’t had much success this month, other than the above publication, but I’m still pushing forward.

Coming up in April….

…. I have my first non-Hollins poetry reading! I am super excited for this despite my insecurities. I will be reading some of the work I wrote during my last month at Hollins and other work that shares the same theme of Baltimore. If you are local to the Baltimore area or don’t mind taking a drive up/down/whichever direction you’re coming from, the reading is April 6th, 2018. The event will be part of Highlandtown’s First Friday Art Walk series. You can find more information here.

Also, since I was pretty successful with last year’s 30 poems in 30 days as part of National Poetry Month (and then again last August as part of Zoetic Press’ challenge), I’m going to try it again. Cue the dramatic music. Let’s see how this turns out. My life is going to change during April, so I hope my creative mind can use these changes to my advantage.

Plus, it’s gong to be my birthday!!!

Overall…

I’ve been bouncing between wanting to give up writing, writing EVERYTHING, simply wanting a break, and needing a push to write. I think that working so much is draining my creativity, but I need to eat, so what do I do when I have nothing left? How can I continue when I don’t even know where I am?

Writing isn’t an easy business by far, but I want my dreams to come true. I’m going to keep grinding and hopefully take some more time for me and my craft. Maybe that’s all I need.

Posted in Blog, General

It’s been a while

Hi everybody! it’s been such a long time since I’ve updated y’all. Well…. Here goes!

I’ve been doing….a lot of nothing. That’s not fair. What I mean is I’ve been doing a low of working and very little writing. With two jobs and my own business, I’ve abrely been scribbling on napkins, jotting notes in my phone, and doing free writes with my kids before their ELA lesson for the evening, but nothing concrete has really come.

I have gotten this poem published (Trigger warning for sexual assault, childhood sexual assault), and I will be getting a love poem published in Memoir Mixtape’s B-side for Volume Three.

I’m still looking for a press to pick up my manuscript and I am considering revising several of the pieces therein to make it better, easier to read and understand while keeping the rawness of black history and current events. Considering the juxtaposition on then vs now on the same page spread, but I’m still thinking about it. If it’s not picked up, then major revisions are going to happen. It’s daunting but still exciting.

In addition to poetry, I’m also writing some nonfiction/memoir stuff. I’m not focused on it, but when I do write for it, I just need to make sure that I write my truth regardless of who it may potentially hurt.

I’m doing what I can to get by. I’m still here, still breathing, just a little quieter.

Posted in Blog, Poetry

My favorite poem from this year

has finally been published!

You can access it here. (Edit: This link works on all browsers except Chrome)

I write a lot about historical black figures, but Emmett Till’s story touches me somewhat more than other people. My first poem about this particular moment is here.

For those that do not know the story of Emmett Till, here goes: Till was visiting relatives in the South where it was said that he whistled at a white woman in a store or something to that effect on August 24th, and word spread around town.

Upon hearing this, the woman’s husband, Roy Bryant, along with a few accomplices kidnapped Emmett Till from his home, had his wife identify him as her “attacker,” and drove him to a barn where he pistol-whipped and knocked Till unconscious. His body was then beaten, disfigured, shot and then thrown into a river, weighted down by a seventy pound fan.

Three days later, Till’s body surfaced, found by two boys fishing; he was too swollen and bloated to recognize. He was very badly beaten, he was mutilated, he was shot, and he was nude, save for a ring with the initials “L.T.” which is what they used to identify him.

His mother requested that his body be returned to Chicago and that his casket be open at his funeral, displaying her then disfigured fourteen year old son’s body for the world to see. It is said that you could smell his body from two blocks away.

His killers were acquitted (not surprising for the time), even though they body admitted to kidnapping him. Mamie (Till’s mother) “didn’t cry enough” on the stand. The jury was virulent in their racism and some even later admitted that they knew Bryant and Milam were guilty; they just didn’t think that killing a black man unjustly warranted the death penalty.

Decades later, Carolyn Bryant, the woman Till was accused of making advances toward, retracted her statement. Emmett Till died over a lie. He died because someone believed a white woman just because she was white, and he died alone and scared without living much life. This is what hurts.

He did not deserve this. No one deserves this, but these lynchings still happen today, just under a different name.