Posted in Blog, General

Grad School

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 🙂

Posted in Blog, FYMBF, In progress

2nd person vs 3rd person

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.

Posted in Blog, General

Rejections

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.

Posted in FYMBF, In progress, Poetry

Snippet letter from the first draft

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.

Untitled

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.

Posted in Blog, In progress

Projects abound

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.

-A. Elizabeth

Posted in Blog, General

update

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