Marked Pages – Poem by Me

I've never met a book I didn't like
because I've always seen the bad with
the good. You taught me how to see
both.

And I don't mark the pages up, 
because I want to rely on my mind
and what I remember. I'll come back
to their yellowed corners again and

again, but I want to see clean, blank
margins. If the page stays unmarked,
we can pretend it's brand new. 
Pretend that we're brand new, at the 

beginnings of our journeys and 
discovering new books.

I hope you enjoyed this piece! I wrote it after thinking about different people’s preferences with their books. As you can guess from this poem, I don’t annotate my books except in school. My mom, however, has her favorite books all marked up with sticky notes and annotations, and I know lots of other people do the same. Please feel free to leave feedback and/or writing challenges in the comments.

Brooke

The Colors In The Sky – Poem by Me

if only everywhere had colored umbrellas in the 
sky. let's do this in our backyard-- will you change

the colors every month, or do we have to choose 
only one? that might not be a permanent commitment

i can make. I'd vote for pink, in case you wanted to know.
but you probably already knew that.

we could eat grilled cheeses everyday on the patio,
and ignore the fact that I'm lactose intolerant. 

I hope you enjoyed this piece! I know it was a super short one. It was inspired by a restaurant in Malibu called Malibu Café– if you’ve ever been there, you’d know they have an installation of umbrellas. They actually do switch the colors, but I’m not sure how often. You should go there if you’re ever in the area. It’s a little pricey, but really good…especially the grilled cheese. Please feel free to share feedback and/or writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Are You There? – Poem by Me

I'm waiting for you here, in front of our 
favorite place to get sandwiches in the city.

Waiting for you, waiting for someone else 
maybe, waiting for something to come my

way, brush me on the shoulder, whisper
in my ear and sweep me away. Because I

can't (and won't) do it on my own, not today.
Turkey and pickle-- yes, just that and mustard,

please. I'll be waiting as I sit and eat this at a
table for two. I know you'll come eventually.

You're across the street by now, you must be.
I could text you, or call to make sure, but we

decided to be more independent, right? Yes,
no one should be so codependent this early.

I'll keep waiting here, for you.

This was something different to write. It’s not based off of my experiences at all, more so something I just got inspired to write. It’s funny how much I write about relationships considering my lack of experience with them. Please feel free to share feedback and/or writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Daily Dish – Poem by Me

the pristine white fridge, pure and clean
dirtied by the "schedule," corners peeling.

monday: meatless
tuesday: tacos
wednesday: pasta
thursday: meat
friday: pizza

defining dinnertime before it happens, waiting
for us to wield our forks at the dinner table
silently.

I want to peel the sad list off the fingerprinted
surface, but it's nice to pretend things are normal
and so are we.

This is a really cheesy and somewhat dramatic piece, but it was fun to write as always. It was inspired by my mom making that exact schedule for our weeknight dinners so she can plan everything when she goes to the grocery store. As a picky eater, those are the main things I eat. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments and/or writing challenges. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Let’s Talk: Unfinished Pieces and Revising Your Writing

Welcome back everyone!

Today I want to talk a little bit about leaving writing pieces unfinished and revising your writing. These are two things I’ve struggled with a lot in the past (and still do!) so I thought it might be relevant to others as well. I also recently learned a lot about revision through my time in the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. If you’re interested in learning more about my experience with these two issues, keep on reading!

I often have an idea for a poem or short story (or even novel if I’m feeling ambitious) that I will start to run with, get stuck, and just kind of leave there. There’s nothing wrong with this, and a lot of great lines or portions of pieces can come out of just putting pen to paper when you have an idea. However, it can be difficult to shape these half-pieces into something you like or something that’s actually meaningful.

In a way, I think having that time away from the piece is really important to preventing writer’s block. However, you want to make sure you don’t take too much time away from the piece to the point where you forget what you were actually thinking about or trying to say when you wrote it. Also, try to spend your time mulling over possible directions to take it once you come back and work on it again.

If you end up just abandoning a piece completely, that’s completely normal and totally fine. I just recommend looking it back over to see if there’s any sentences/lines or whole excerpts you think could be useful for other pieces you’re currently working on or something you might want to write in the future.

I always feel like I’m missing out on something or losing something if I don’t see a piece out to its end, but it’s important to refrain from pressuring yourself. You most likely won’t be happy with what you write if you’re putting pressure on yourself anyways. If a piece isn’t working for you, listen to your inner writing voice and don’t worry about leaving it behind. Like I already mentioned, you can always come back to it later if you’re inspired to do so.

As far as revision goes, I had no clue how to actually revise my work in an effective way until learning more about that in my writing workshop. I would always use spellcheck and edit my grammar as well as sometimes tweak a few words for the sake of diction, but I never knew how to really dig deep and take a piece further.

In the workshop, I learned it’s normal to go through tons of drafts in the revision process, and generate lots of new lines and content to see what sticks. It might take a few drafts to figure out what you’re really trying to say and what made you decide to start your piece. Sometimes we’re not ready to put that into words yet, and that’s when you might find it beneficial to step away from the piece a little bit.

These are just a couple things I learned as a result of my writing workshop and my personal experiences lately, but I hope they prove helpful to you as well. Let me know if you have any questions, and please feel free to leave feedback and/or post requests in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Walking On A Thursday Night – Poem by Me

it's seven o'clock and the sun won't set until eight.
we're walking through this park, past the unmowed
grass and i wish we were in a city on the busy sidewalks
instead. don't you ever wish for something bigger?

I wish you didn't think I'm selfish for wanting more.
let's move to the city or the country, anything but this
suburban purgatory. I know you can be yourself anywhere,
but I can't be myself here.

I walk faster than you, trying not to be noticed. your easy
stroll is so different than my fast-walk, almost broken into
a jog. we pass families, kids on bikes, couples having picnics
on ratty beach towels, but we are just here, walking.

I hope you liked this little piece! I get so much inspiration from the nightly walks I go on, and today’s piece is one of those small bouts of inspiration. Please feel free to leave feedback and/or writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

The Move Out – Poem by Me

when the movers showed up in the bulky, white truck
with the wheels that so badly needed to be oiled, I still

couldn't believe it. how fast time passes, how slow time
passes, how the boxes were already all packed up and 

making their way into the back of that truck. and no, I
wasn't having a change of heart. I was thrilled to see the

truck drive away, your car trailing after it, almost rolling
through the stop sign at the corner. but that doesn't mean

I wasn't shocked that the day finally came-- I guess I shouldn't
have been, as all days eventually do come. 

I hope you enjoyed this piece! It’s inspired by my grandma finally getting her own place and moving out from my family’s house after about 8 months of her living with us. It had been an extremely rough time since we didn’t exactly have the room for her and I have a rocky relationship with my grandma, but the light at the end of the tunnel is here. Feel free to leave feedback and/or writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

My Experience At The Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to be talking about the amazing experience I had attending the virtual Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. Although I’m disappointed I did not get to experience the conference and meet all the lovely faculty and writers in person, I am so thankful to have been a part of it virtually and I still grew a ton as a result. If you can’t already tell, this is going to be somewhat of a gushing post. Keep on reading if you want to find out more about the conference!

For reference, I was in a poetry workshop. Each workshop group had seven young writers and a faculty member, and we were in those individual groups for a few hours a day (the bulk of the workshop). We had joint classes with the other poetry workshops a couple times, and there were activities with all workshop groups such as optional evening classes on more niche topics (love poems, found forms, etc).

I had never workshopped a piece before, so going through the workshop process with my group was really helpful and interesting. We each workshopped a poem that we read in front of the whole conference on the last day, and I felt so empowered throughout the whole process.

Daily workshops consisted of reading poems and essays and discussing them in our groups, with a writing prompt to complete during our lunch break. Similarly, we’d have short homework assignments that were usually just revising our work and/or reading a couple short pieces and annotating them. The selection of authors and works that we read were diverse and really, really amazing in my opinion. I definitely fell in love with a few new writers.

At first I was intimidated by the talent of the other people in the workshop and my group, but as I got more comfortable I realized we were all there to learn and grow. Everyone had their strengths and the things they wanted to work on in the workshop, and it was awesome to see my work grow as well as everyone else’s in such a short period of time.

Even though it’s tough to get to know strangers across the country over Zoom, I feel like we did a pretty good job in connecting. I guess sharing pieces of writing about the most vulnerable parts of yourself and your life will do the trick for that. 🙂 I loved my group. And after listening to everyone at the end-of-conference reading, I knew for sure that these were some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. They’re definitely on track to do big things!

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend a workshop like this and work on my writing on a more serious level. It opened me up to different types of writing and exploring different themes in my work, digging deep within myself. I had so much fun meeting new people and listening to their work, and discovering and reading works by writers I hadn’t been exposed to before.

I hope you enjoyed this little anecdote about my experience! Feel free to ask me any questions you may have– I know I didn’t go superrrr into detail about everything. I encourage you to apply next year, whether it ends up being virtual again or in person! Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Online Goodbyes – Poem by Me

I never got to see your faces in person; only the
little boxes on my laptop screen. I paid attention

to your backgrounds; the different colors of everyone's
walls, dressers or stacks of books behind you. 

Why does it feel like I'm letting something so real go,
when it never existed face-to-face? If only we got

to go to the mountains, see the sunset, watch the
fireworks together-- all in a place I've never been.

Maybe next time. But for now, it's time to log off.

This is a short poem regarding my writing workshop being online instead of in-person this summer. I already miss it. A post detailing my experience will most likely be up next week, in case anyone’s interested. Please feel free to leave feedback and writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

It’s Different Now – Poem by Me

There's a mask on my desk, two masks in the center console
of each of my parents' cars, a mask in my bag, a mask in 

my mother's purse. New accessories for new times, a band-aid
for the giant wound our world is suffering. Don't forget your

mask, my mom reminds me each time I leave the house. And 
I forget, a lot. Not because I don't think it's important to wear

it, but because how is this our reality? Six feet apart lines in 
stores, a growing death count on the news that never stops

flashing the 'Breaking News' banner because there's always
something new going wrong, schools and businesses shut

down. But there's more. Kids zooming down the street on
bikes and scooters, friendly strangers waiting to lend a hand.

If we have to do this, let's do this together. The slivers of good
will become rays of sun that eventually outshine the bad, and

we will win.

I hope you enjoyed this poem! I was trying to have a more optimistic spin on the craziness and second waves of COVID-19 going around right now. Please feel free to leave feedback and writing challenges in the comments. Stay healthy and safe out there.

Brooke