August is over, and September is here. Time for a new school year and more learning and growing opportunities. I am excited for the simple fact of being able to be in spaces where I can learn from different teachers and kids. Each day I am in a building, I am absolutely humbled. Our kids are our future, and being an educator I still have the opportunity to learn with them and from them. I may not be a full-time teacher – yet! – but I enjoy everything that comes with the beginning of school.
But you aren’t reading this to hear me rant about kids and my excitement for the upcoming school year; you want to know how I did. I will list my goals for August one last time, then share my progress on them.
- Write at least 25 new poems/scenes
- Apply for Fear No Lit’s Submerging Writer Fellowship
- Successfully finish my second summer of teaching creative writing to little ones
- Fleshed out some more scenes in FYMBF
- I wrote 31 new poems and 1 continuation of a scene
- I applied for Fear No Lit’s Fellowship
- I completed my teaching summer with a perfect observation score and and almost perfect (47/48 if I’m remembering numbers correctly) score
- I only fleshed out one scene of FYMBF, but that scene is strong and emotionally charged, leading into even more scenes, so I’ll take what I can get. (Plus 31 poems in 31 days – that’s a feat in itself! I’m not sure how/why I thought I could do both)
All in all, I didn’t do too bad. I have new material and new vision, new expectations, for my memoir. At first, I didn’t think I could accomplish this goal. Last year, I believe I ended up with 26 pieces. That’s not bad, but it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. In my personal 30 in 30 in April, I ended up with 28 out of 30. Again, not bad, but it was closer.
This year, completing 31 poems, I feel incredibly accomplished and blessed. I am realizing I have talent and drive. I am realizing that emotions can start to take a backseat, and I can become more objective in my work. I also realize that inspiration doesn’t always come find you; you have to go out there and seek it.
It is day 17 out of 31. I have completed (first drafts anyways) of 16 pieces so far this month, 15 of which are all brand new poems! The one other piece is a continuation of my memoir, For You My Best Friend.
This kind of effort excites me. It makes me believe I can do anything I put effort into, and honestly, it’s not as hard as it sounded. Maybe it’s because I’ve done this a couple of times before, so I know I can do it, but still, I am ecstatic. I am well on my goal to at least 25 new pieces of writing.
In case you’ve forgotten, I had the following four main goals in my control:
- Write at least 25 new poems/scenes
- Applied to Fear NO Lit’s Submerging Writer Fellowship
- Finished my second summer of successfully teaching creative writing classes to little ones
- Fleshed out some more scenes in FYMBF
I am proud to report the following:
- I have 16 poems/scenes so far, which means only 9 (9!!!!) left out of 25. I might push myself and do 30, but we’ll see!
- I applied to the Submerging Writer Fellowship (July 31)
- I successfully completed my summer with a perfect observation of teaching and an almost perfect overall feedback score. I had amazing scholars, and it was great to get them out of their shells, writing and reading their pieces to audiences proudly. (8/11)
- I’ve done a little fleshing out, but hey, it’s not the end of August yet, so I still have some time 🙂
Keeping positive and staying around positive people really helps my productivity.
Wonder what’s next for me? Wanna make sure I follow through with my goals? Make sure you follow me!
Writing prose is so much harder than writing poetry, especially memoir (though I’m a little stuck on the poetry front too, if I’m being honest). I’ve been working on my piece tentatively called “For You My Best Friend,” staring at the same words over and over again for a couple weeks, trying to add things and actually make this into a full-length book. How’s it going? Horribly. Memoir hurts. And my brain is fuzzy.
Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough space from the subject. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to expose myself. Maybe I’m scared. Maybe that’s okay.
Sidenote: Are there such things as prose chapbooks?
So, April is National Poetry month, and I am determined to write 30 poems in 30 days. Have I lost my mind? Probably, but nothing beats a try but a fail. It is Tuesday, April 11th, and I have only 8 poems I believe, so I’m already behind. Any advice, cheerleading, and/or favorite prompts in the comments below would be helpful. I am also going to include a list of my favorite prompts below, some of which I have used this year, some in previous years.
I will start to share a couple if I like them, but more often if I don’t like them.
Prompts I like/have done/plan to do:
- Start each statement with “I will” or “I want”
- Blackout poetry from old textbooks or papers
- Re-write a poem written when you first started writing.
- List poems. (I LOVE list poems even though I’m not necessarily successful at them)
- Portrait poems
- Let your pain write back to you
- Write about waiting
- Begin with “This is not the last poem I will write…”
- Write a love poem to someone without using any of these words: love, like, heart, passion, fire, desire, forever, roses, kiss, dream, moment, together, soul or baby.
- Write a poem that admits a dark secret of yours.
- Find one of your favorite recipes. Write a poem that utilizes some of the steps of that recipe.
- What did you say?
- Go to a place that means a lot to you & write about it
- If It Were To Be The Last Time or The Last Time
- The places you have left yourself
- Noisy beds
- Stories about scars or bruises
- “I have done this before and more.”
If I can think of more, I’ll add them, but if you think of any you’d like to see, leave a comment below!
So I’m working on For You, My Best Friend, and I am realizing that half of it, I have written in the first and second person and half of it I have written in first and third person. The struggle. Both sound authentic to the work, but the second person definitely sounds more accusatory even though the person I am writing this for/about will probably never read it. I basically admit he ruined my life (oops?) and I don’t want readers to think I’m talking to them, even thought that might be an interesting trip for them to go on. I think they give off two completely different vibes, and I am not sure which one I am going for.
I am questioning so much, and I am finally writing more. I might wait until I am “finished” to make it third person or second person. I am not sure.We’ll see. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to leave them below. Much appreciated.
Like I said in my previous post, the first draft of my nonfiction project (there’s a poetry one coming too!) was written entirely in rants, letters, and poems. Here is a combination of all three from the first draft, something like a prose poem. Feel free to comment and/or make suggestions. I originally wrote this a few years ago and have not come back to it until now.
My best friend wanted a picture of me. I sent him one after a long spiel of why I did not want to send him one. There should not have been a negotiation, but he knows his power and he owns it and he uses it accordingly.
I wonder why me saying “no” does not stick. I wonder if he really loves me or just likes what I give, which confuses me because it isn’t much.
But he tells me I am beautiful, so I forgive him and forget about the weight he adds to my shoulders. Then he sends me a picture of his dick. I laugh. Not because it is funny, but because I am uncomfortable, and I do not know how to tell him “no” without 1. Feeling bad about it and 2. Him not taking me seriously.
He knows I do not want him like that. He knows I am mostly a lesbian. He confuses me. I confuse me. When I talk to him, my voice should not waver like an old record. It is clear I have let him rot in my ribs for way too long. This needs to stop. He is hurting me. I am letting him. I do not want to anymore.
So, like I said in my previous post, I am working on a longer nonfiction work about a previously platonic turned intimate relationship I’ve had over the years, and I am going to admit something to you that I haven’t admitted to anyone:
This project scares me.
Words normally don’t scare me. But I am doing it because it scares me, because I want to feel, and I know this will get me riled up. Though I’m not sure how long I want it to be or if I want it to exist in the world or just on my computer, this is getting me to a pen, to a page. And yes it’s slow going, but once I’m writing, I can’t stop until that thought is gone.
I am currently on my second draft; the first was all poetry and curse words and rating and second person nonsense, but now I am flipping those poems into memories, into revelations, into substance. I am pouring my heart or my brain into the page. The working title is For You, My Best Friend.
Comment below if you want to see a snippet of what I’ve been up to or a poem from whence it came.