Help!! Writing Struggles


There’s something I’ve begun to notice during my senior year in college. As an English major, specifically Creative Writing, my focus is on fiction. But…

I never have been, and I’m afraid I never will be a good poet. I was in need of an extra creative writing elective, so I enrolled in Intermediate Poetry Writing. It has been the toughest, most humbling, and frustrating experience I could have imagined.

Here I am, an editor of the University’s annual creative writing publication, and I can’t even write poetry. Luckily I can recognize and appreciate good poetry, but when it comes to creating it, it’s almost as if I’m too literal minded.

Has anyone else had this experience? Conquered it? Still struggle with it? I could use some feedback here. What are some strategies you use to get the juices flowing? How can I get past my overwhelming urge to put prose on paper??

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Mirrors and Windows


Mirrors and Windows

When you look at me
with glitter and stars in your eyes,
what is it that you see?
Am I a mere reflection
of all that you are?
Strong, magical, yet insecure?
Or can you see through to me?
Where the insecurities overshadow everything else.
And the light and vibrancy hides away
in cobwebbed corners waiting for
their chance to shine?

How to Feel


In workshop today, the class critiqued my new short story, and the response was mostly positive. I got an A on the story, AND my professor wrote in my critique that the story reminded him of Dean Koontz’s writing. I could barely fit my head through the door of the classroom when it was over. 😀

To read an exerpt of the story, go here

To Be Continued…


To Be Continued. ..

My cover is plain,
never calling for attention.
Quietly beautiful
like a single daisy,
but I am no flower.
Prop me under a table leg.
I can take it.

But be careful of my pages.
They are delicate
like Bible pages
only less holy,
but they are well read
and nothing like new.

So I hide my wear and tear
and rough cut edges
under a simple dust jacket
because good condition
is better than acceptable.

The Rules


Note: I will be the first to admit that I am no poet. I have a passion for writing that sometimes seems absolutely out of control, but my talent or specialty does not extend to poetry. However, I am taking a poetry class this semester in an attempt to possibly bring horrible up to acceptable. Anyway, that being said… I will be posting my poetry throughout the semester. So you can either watch me blossom or watch me fail over and over and over. lol Either way, it’ll be fun. Enjoy!

The Rules

Small and slow, we begin.
Unsure baby steps toward nothing at all.
Soon, we learn to skip and sing and run,
Moving faster than we ought to.
All the while, following an invisible tether
That pulls, leads, directs.

Soon we reach an edge, the crest of a valley
Breath escapes our parted lips violently, both at the beauty
And at the fear of falling, tumbling down into nothing.
The security of our past journeys gone. Only our tether remains,
Pulling us onward. We have no choice but to continue.
And when we begin our descent, we are on our own.

The journey is steep and dangerous.
Rocks, roots, vines challenge us, we stumble, we fall,
We scrape our knees and palms. We persist.
Our bodies become bigger and stronger,
We think with purpose. We no longer skip or sing.
We fake bravery when there is none to show.

Finally at the bottom we stumble clumsily into a glorious glen
Full of blues, greens, reds. Vibrant hues we’ve never seen.
We turn to look at how far we’ve come in such a short time.
The terrifying descent of the steep canyon wall
Seems so far away. Another lifetime. Momentarily
We wonder at how we feel higher than we’ve ever been.

Strong, capable, reverent, we try to see it all, eyes darting,
Fascinated, but the tether pulls. A Robin bathes herself at
The edge of a pond. Fluttering wings playfully splashing,
So beautiful and innocent. We want to stay and watch.
But there is no stopping until the end.
Those are the rules.

In the valley we are grown and full of life.
We laugh, we run, we fall in love many times.
We find ourselves, become intimate with our passions.
We succeed and we fail again and again,
But we still miss opportunities as they fly by.
So much to see and do, but we are always moving.

One day, we approach the far side of the valley,
Our backs face the only home we know, and we panic.
Looking up at the steep incline, we pray for mercy.
To be allowed to remain in the valley a little while longer.
But there’s no stopping until the end.
Those are the rules.

And so we climb. Tired, weak, and aching.
We drag ourselves up slowly, cautiously.
Our bodies worn and weathered.
The journey is rough, the end out of sight.
And there are no breaks for resting.
We must keep moving, and somehow we do.

As we near the peak, the crest of the incline finally in sight,
Something has changed. Suddenly and all at once, we have aged.
Our skin no longer smooth. Our voices husky and tired.
Our muscles and joints worn like antique door hinges.
We have trouble remembering how this journey began.
But we are optimistic. When we reach the top it will all be clear.

This agony will surely end. And finally it does.
The last steps of our ascent are slow and purposeful.
Gasping and holding our sides, we take that last and final step.
At the peak, far away from the valley where we belonged,
Where we loved. Where we lived each day so fully.
We feel the loss of those times and that place.

Pulled from our memories, we realize that for the
First time, we have stopped moving. Stopping had never
Been an option. Where had our persistent tether gone?
How were we to continue our journey? Curious, we turn
Our backs on the valley, on our lives. We look ahead, and
All we see is the end. It is time. We must stop. Those are the rules.

Brandy Meredith - February 3, 2015

Writing Challenge — The Reluctant “I”


The Challenge:

In 800 words and in under an hour, write a scene or a story from the first person point-of-view. However, you can only use the first person pronoun (I, me, or my) two times (excepting in another character’s dialogue), but the first person character must remain an important part of the story.

There were probably close to a thousand reasons not to be driving to Maxx’s house at two o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday. Nevertheless, I was nearing the halfway point along the fifty mile stretch of Route 84 that ran between Hunlee and Cedarville, Alabama. This particular fifty mile expanse of highway had been shunned and forgotten by civilization and offered passersby nothing to see but never-ending acres of open field and an occasional patch of forest.

The only attraction along the blank slate was the halfway point between Hunlee and Cedarville. Twenty-five miles from anything even resembling civilization, sat a small cluster of buildings. There were no intersecting roads, so there was no use for a stop light. The highway simply cut through the center of the group of buildings with nothing but a swinging caution light to acknowledge its existence. With no houses or side roads to lead anywhere in sight, the halfway spot seemed to have been built for no other reason than to provide weary travelers with something to look at other than a sea of green and a long stretch of pavement.

It was an unsettling place to be with a broken radio, an empty passenger seat, and no cell phone signal. Which is why it had taken Maxx twenty minutes to convince me to make the drive. Having not spoken to each other in over six weeks, his phone call was a surprise. His invitation an even bigger surprise. When a guy catches his fiancé cheating on him with his best friend three weeks before the planned wedding, the line of communication gets severed pretty quickly. After six weeks of not hearing from him, it had seemed like the line would remain severed.

It was impossible to imagine what he could want. He wouldn’t say over the phone. He’d just said that he’d had a really long day and didn’t feel like making the drive, but there were some things he wanted to talk about. There are certain bodily reactions that go on inside a person when they’re both emotionally hopeful and terrified at the same time. Butterflies in the stomach, heart in the throat, the inability to sit still. None of these things do anything to improve a fifty mile drive in the middle of the night.

The twin headlight beams seemed to pull the car along, bright against the blacktop. That along with a lack of sleep and the impenetrable walls of darkness along each side of the road coalesced to create an almost hypnotic feeling. It made it easy to imagine how people could fall asleep at the wheel. The only thing tough enough to battle the allure of sleep was not knowing what Maxx wanted to talk about. Could he forgive what had happened? Did he want to talk about it? Maybe try to work things out? The past six weeks had been spent in a constantly revolving state of excruciating pain and complete numbness, and it had provided plenty of time to regret and agonize over what had happened. Alcohol is an evil concoction, but it was too late for making excuses.

There was really no way to be prepared for the unknown, and somehow the fifty miles were already coming to an end. The glow of Cedarville was bright in the distance, like a light at the end of a tunnel. Ten minutes later, pulling into his driveway, it seemed like the excruciatingly long drive had taken no longer than five minutes. Definitely not a good time to puke, though it seemed like an amazing idea.

He came out onto the porch when he heard the car in the drive, and he was wearing nothing but a pair of running pants. His eyes squinted in the headlights until they clicked off with the ignition. There wasn’t a smile on his face, but he didn’t really look mad anymore either. Was that a spark of hope?

“Hey,” he said as he walked toward the driveway. His bare feet were cushioned by a thick carpet of grass. The moonlight reflected off the broad planes of his shoulders, but his face was hidden by shadows.

“Hey.”

Silence and awkwardness followed.

“So, I’m glad you could come over. I know it’s late,” he finally said, looking at his watch. 3:35am.

“Oh no. It’s fine. Really.”

Finally he made eye contact and held it for what seemed like forever. The tears were automatic, and they stung.

He reached out his hand.

“So, I just wanted to say that I still fucking hate you for what you did, but I wanted to pay back the money your parents lent me when I had to have the transmission replaced in my car last year.” A check for $750 dollars lay in his palm.

 

 

A Friday Afternoon Spent in Bed


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Whoever coined the phrase “get out there and enjoy life” failed to consider the joys one can gain by simply staying in.

After a very successful week of getting back into the school groove, beginning some new classes, and starting a brand new, exciting internship, I’m spending my Friday afternoon in bed.

Normally, an afternoon in bed means I haven’t the motivation or desire to do anything else. I deal with my share of depressive episodes that make it very difficult to appreciate the best parts of life, so when I find myself fully relaxed, engrossed, and at peace, I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate it.

Have a wonderful Friday!  I am.