I’ve gotten bitten by the grad school bug, and I think I’m ready to finally apply. It’s been over two years since I’ve been in school, so this whole process feels so weird. I have to find my “best work” whatever that means, and I have to choose between poetry and nonfiction. University of Baltimore said that if I sent both genres they’d choose for me and that I’d be able to change it later if I was completely unhappy, but still, how am I to choose between two things that I love for different reasons?
Poetry – at least my poetry – is short, sweet, and to the point, with some out there statements and colloquial language. I let myself live in other worlds, or I enhance my own world with flowery language.
My nonfiction stuff hurts. It hurts to write, and it hurts to read (or at least, that’s what I’ve been told). It’s raw – almost too raw – like I want everybody to know everything about me and why I write and what I need to get off my chest. I write my hurt. I write my happy. I write my in-betweens.
Writing is very cathartic to me, and I guess I do write for that reason, but maybe I’m just scared to put it out there. Maybe I’m not ready to be that out there. Maybe it’s not my time. Maybe I don’t have much to say at all and only think I do.
I’m also thinking about applying to Hollins for that MFA program, but I am not completely sure about that. UB seems right. I met with the director of the program, and she seems absolutely lovely. Other contenders are Spalding, Hopkins, and VCFA – none of which I have visited – yet (Hopkins I am visiting in April).
Any suggestions or particularly good programs you’d like to bag about? Drop them in the comments section 🙂
New publication up at For the Sonorous
Link just to my poem titled “growing up black girl” is here
I am so proud of this piece. Please check it out & let me know what you think in the comments below!
– A. Elizabeth
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.
I get them. I get a lot of them. And each rejection is starting to hurt just a little less, but I must say, each one also gives me something to strive for. Now I’m not the absolute best by any means. I am not perfect. And generally, my writing is very touchy-feely, very passionate, very pro-black; not many people are into that. Does that make me a bad writer? No. It just means that my work is not for everyone, and that’s completely fine.
I don’t write anything I don’t experience (for the most part). I don’t write about nature. I don’t write about the stars. I don’t write about traveling… or at least not that much.
I write about the hurt. I write about pain. I write about my blackness. I write about my womanhood. I write about my queerness. I write about Baltimore, a city I have a love/hate relationship with. I write about men. I write about women. I write about liminal spaces. I write about magic. I write the depression. I write the sex. I write the ugly.
I just think of rejections as people saying it’s not my time to shine yet. One day, it will be.
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.
I have so missed updating everybody with my work and life, so I have a lot of updates for you!
I graduated from undergrad May 2015. I taught for a year and a half, leaving the classroom in order to focus more on myself and my writing. However, I do substitute and work as a freelance editor now, so I feel lucky enough to be able to do so.
From summer 2016 until now, the following sites have published my work:
In addition to poetry, I have also been working on a nonfiction project/future book of sorts about a previous mostly platonic relationship I have had that stemmed from a project I was originally working on during undergrad but nixed it. I will keep you updated on that too.
Take care y’all & please share!
– A. Elizabeth