journal

Thinking With the Best of Them

Tomorrow I will submit my first poetry chapbook to Honeysuckle Press. This chapbook is filled with my best work, though some lines still feel brittle enough to break me; lines like:

"The problem remained, I thought too much. We were thoughts. We were thinking with the best of them, and we'd worship words, but never wreckage."

My two best friends have been kind enough to give feedback on these poems. These are also the same best friends with whom I reunited in NYC two weekends ago. And what I discovered with these two people is how we all worship words, how we let them destroy and revive us, and all along I, too, was thinking with the best of them. 

Maybe some writers only have the page. Maybe they, too, carry their notebooks and journals as if they are people, capable of conversing back and forth, as I have often found myself doing. But I hope they also having living, breathing people who will help shape stray thoughts into meaning. 

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While away, I was finally able to share my last printed copy of Dream Catchers. Together, my best friend and I admired the pages, remembering the beginning and the middle and the end of creating this story. Together we discussed books and short stories and with one idea, I finally discovered how to return to my most beloved short story collection! And we talked about poetry.

On one trip from Brooklyn to Greenwich Village, we listened to my narration (in Voice Memos) of my chapbook, and every now and again my best fiend would tap me in hopes of pausing the reading to gush or question or note something from a line or title or an image. A year ago, this would've been a terrifying exercise. But since embarking on the Plath Poetry Project and writing along with Sylvia's last year of life, since rediscovering my voice as a poet and crafting enough pieces to create an entire chapbook, I have grown more confident in my words. There are still the vulnerable lines and the ones which are so fictitious, even I'm astounded at how well they resonate off the page, but they exist, and for that I am grateful. 

Many of these poems began as single lines in my journal under various pages marked: Thoughts. Others were born into full-fledged poems at 4AM and they remain some of my best. And I hope to share them all with you someday. Here's to submitting. Here's to winning the Honeysuckle competition and seeing these words in print. Together. Published. Real. 

And here's to starting all over again. 

A few days after returning from that short trip, I still felt energized and rejuvenated both in spirit and creativity, and I found myself completing another journal. It's now become a "thing" where every three months I must start a new journal. And leaving one journal behind in exchange for another is usually a strange and difficult process where it takes me at least a week to get comfortable again. And throughout this time of committing my words to the square-ruled pages of a black hardbound Moleskine, I''ll admit I've become superstitious. I begin every first page with a mantra, I promise eternal gratitude as a reward for finding my journal if ever it should become lost, I sign my name, I write my word for the year in the back to be reminded, and I get to work filling yet another journal. And it's worked for me. I also started finding quotable stickers from The Strand to adorn the back covers, which help me distinguish between them since they all look the same. 

As I walked through The Strand during this last adventure, I found two wonderful stickers, and both are now stuck to the backs of my new journals, one of which you will notice is red! I had serious Dash and Lily vibes upon receiving the object in the mail from one of the best friends. And I can't wait to fill it with even more words. 

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I suppose Jack London is right in his advice to writers to carry notebooks everywhere. I can't imagine what I would miss if I didn't have a sacred place close by to impart confessions, observations, one-liners, poetry, short stories, etc. And I can't imagine where I would be in this writing journey without the people who support me best. 

So here's to them.

Here's to words and better thoughts and the stories I can craft as a writer. Here's to luck and hope for my poetry chapbook. Here's to sharing my words with all of you.

Finding Strength and a Mighty Pen

It seems it's been more than a month since I've written here, which feels strange. I guess it's not that I didn't have anything to write about. If anything, I've had too many thoughts as of late, and I haven't been sure how to write them. So I kept those thoughts close, guarded like secrets.

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I guess I should start by saying that I completely massacred BOOK ONE, and brought it back to life. At first, it was scary. But then, it wasn't. Tearing apart my own world made it that much easier to rebuild. Maybe it wasn't so bad because I wanted to experiment. Or maybe it's because I've gotten good at rebuilding things. Either way, BOOK ONE is better than I ever could have imagined!

Want to know the best part?

I finally know what it's all about. And not just BOOK ONE. I know the theme for each book AND the series as a whole. When people ask (and they do ask) what it's all about, I can finally explain it without rambling and sounding like I don't actually know the answer. And this realization has helped me put the pieces of this book back together!

Looking back over the past two months, I'm not really sure how I got through them. I guess when we look back at the difficult things in our life we're not sure how we've made it. Maybe we're all stronger than we ever believed. And maybe, all you invisible readers out there don't know why you're so strong. But lucky for me, I do. Every day, I strive to be as strong as my maternal grandmother. She's amazing, which makes it hard to believe anything could ever break her. And I think that's what everyone in my family and community believed, too. And I think we all still believe that even though she's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I kind of hate that word: cancer. It doesn't even sound good in my mouth. But I guess, if I've learned anything through this, it's that my grandmother IS breakable. We all are. But she has the strength to put herself back together again. I think that's astounding. And even with this diagnosis, she is still the same wonderful person. In trying to wrap my mind around all of this, of course I've been writing about it, even if I haven't been writing about it here. 

Writing is the only thing, which gets me through the ins and outs of life. And I suppose, unknowingly, I started this new, memoir-ish kind of project, but I'm not quite ready to write about that yet, either. I am, however, going to try to keep my updates more frequent, because I wouldn't want to forget any of the crazy, amazing, labor-intensive last months in my first semester at SNHU. I have just two more submissions, and then residency, which I can't wait for! But right now, I must go! I'm leaving for Myrtle Beach tomorrow and have nothing packed.

May my pen be mightier...

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