Recently, I prepared for a public reading by recording myself. I wanted to listen in a more focused way than by simply reading aloud so I could eradicate extraneous words, find phrases that tripped up my tongue, and become familiar enough with the story to keep my eyes on the audience instead of the page.
In so many ways, the first decades of this century have disappointed: No flying cars, no condos on the moon, no reliable political system. War, poverty, and ignorance continue unabated. Depression would appear to be the order of the day. Yet poets continue to turn out poems full of insight, joy, wit, and even optimism.
I’m a compulsive note taker. I think all writers should develop that as a habit. When I get into that wonderful place of creativity, it can feel like I’m a kid again, running through backyards on those never-ending summer evenings, chasing ideas and observations like fireflies.
And each line I breathe I find myself again, as people judge my poem as me and believe the poem is the way inside me, to my head and my being. I confess and I do not want to confess, but I express emotions that are far detached from what I am
While reflecting on this past year, the first year I actually started submitting my stories to publications, I began pondering why I’m a writer and why I chose to write about the things I write about. I found myself reminiscing about the first story I ever wrote a long time ago.
A lot of people think writing is great, that it’s cool and sexy, that there’s something really special about it, something artistic. Those people are wrong. Writing is gross.
Scrolling on Instagram can make you feel obsolete about your skills. I know I did, but I also knew I wasn’t so much obsolete as I was on a different level artistically. I mean, I have a lot to do, I have a family to take care of, school, work; so drawing wasn’t exactly my first priority.
I have written about anorexia a few times, in different forms. A couple of takes were remote—they approached the subject through myth, fairy tale, archetype. One was very serious—it examined the subject from a Marxist, then a feminist point of view, also touching at legal, medical, sociological, economical aspects.
My story, The Fire, was inspired by an event that took place in August of 1891 to my great, great-grandfather. James Murphy and his seventeen-year-old son of the same name spotted a fire in the distance and set out to investigate. Living close to the railroad tracks, they walked down them in the direction of the smoke
Henry David Thoreau didn’t believe in accidents. The arcane poet wanders in his own magic circle. A magician of sorts, Thoreau believed the poet held the power to round up all the forces of the natural world and, at the right time, conjure something important. Thoreau believed in magic.
Creative writing is an act of love, and like any act of love it comes with a sense of anxiety and intimacy. You wonder whether the words will obey your creative ambition or whether they will betray you on the page, ending up stillborn and stale.
I wrote the following line today, and I didn’t hate myself for it: “In today’s world, consumer-facing brands have to do something to differentiate themselves from the competition.” At 13, I was as romantic as I could conceive of being.