Young Writers: Submit to Intersections Mag!

Hello everyone!

It’s been a couple months since the online youth literary magazine I founded, Intersections, released its first issue. We are accepting submissions for our second issue at the moment– poetry, prose, and cover art accepted from youth ages 13 and up (up to college students so our age limits are a little vague). We’re looking for work that deals with the complexity of young people’s experiences in our current world, work that addresses current events, serious topics, and strong emotions.

If you would like to learn more about our mission and read our first issue, you can visit our website here. You can follow our work @intersectionslitmag on Instagram as well.

Please consider submitting and feel free to leave questions about the magazine in the comments! I would love to answer them directly, or I could even do a Q&A/FAQ post regarding starting the magazine if anyone would be interested.

Stay safe and healthy out there– and submit to Intersections!

Brooke

Color-Coded Candy – Poem by Me

let's sit in the kitchen and organize all
the candy we've collected in the cupboards,

even if half of it's expired. we can unwrap
each chocolate bar so they'll all melt into

puddles, slightly different shades of brown.
we'll never want to eat sugar again, like

our half-baked version of Halloween when
we ate each piece and the bottoms of our

pillowcases-turned-trick-or-treating bags
were littered with the colorful wrappers,

not color-coded at all. 
let's keep it simple and make it harder on

ourselves, once more.

I hope you enjoyed this poem! It was kind of inspired by the fact that Halloween’s really not that faraway at this point. Before we know it, the holiday season will be upon us! Please feel free to leave feedback and writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Seeing Through Glass – Poem by Me

I don't look in the glass to see you, 
but to see what's left behind. I'll
look at all the glass I can find:
chapstick marks on water bottles,
fingerprints on the bathroom 
mirror, and whatever else has 
been pressed into the glass by you.

This is super mini-poem, but it is what it is. I hope you enjoyed it regardless. I can’t believe we’re basically halfway through September already! Please feel free to leave feedback and writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Let’s Talk: Blogging During Quarantine

Hello everyone!

I wanted to talk a little bit about my current blogging goals and how my blog has changed since quarantine, as well as blogging in general. I know a lot of people have started blogs and other digital projects during quarantine, and lots more people have been consuming more digital content as usual, whether that’s Netflix and YouTube videos or blog articles. If you’re interesting in hearing more on my perspective regarding blogging during quarantine, keep on reading!

First off, I’m just going to say that it’s been difficult to come up with fresh ideas to blog about during this time. I don’t want to focus too much on the actual issues at hand since everyone’s already aware of them and I don’t have any personal stories to bring to the table, but there’s also not as much activity in my life outside of the house with everything going on. I did make the switch to focusing almost exclusively on writing content, but even then, it’s been hard to find writing inspiration.

As I’ve discussed before in various posts surrounding the purpose behind this blog and my goals for its future, my content doesn’t fit neatly into one particular niche. Although you might say I’ve become exclusively a poetry blog, I still create other content focusing on education, other aspects of writing besides my own pieces, and I’m always open to requests in the comments.

I still think blogging is a great way to get your thoughts out, especially during these times where you might feel super isolated. No matter what you’re writing about, there’s something special about putting words on the page and sending them off where other people can read them. It’s even more amazing having someone connect with your work, especially when they go out of their way to tell you so.

I’ll probably revisit this topic in the near future, but hopefully I won’t have to, and better times are just around the corner. Please feel free to leave feedback and writing challenges in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there– wear a mask! 🙂

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

One Year Of This Blog!

Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to take some time to write a quick thank you and acknowledgement of the one year anniversary of this blog. Technically I started it in mid-June of 2019, but I feel like I didn’t really get into it or start planning for what I wanted to center this blog around until July 2019. Nonetheless, I cannot believe it’s been almost a year of me posting daily and sharing my thoughts with the world on here.

Thank you so so so much to anyone viewing this, anyone who has viewed my other posts, and anyone who has taken the time to like one of my posts or comment something nice. It makes me smile to see that people enjoy reading my musings and like my poetry, and I hope that my posts can be helpful or entertaining to you all in some way.

It’s funny how although I still don’t have a definitive direction to take this blog in (it’s definitely more of a fun little side project), I have narrowed the focus of my posts so much throughout this past year. I originally wrote about so many things, but I’ve been consistently posting poetry/writing content and the occasional school post for the past couple months. I never thought I would be sharing my poetry on the Internet, let alone so frequently, but here I am! It’s been such a nice experience to know that my work is being seen and can resonate with others.

Thank you for sticking with me this past year if you’ve been here since the beginning, and thank you for coming along for the ride if you’ve joined anytime since. I appreciate each and every one of you! This blog is clearly so personal to me, and I never imagined that more than a couple people would really care about what I had to say.

Please know that I am always open to feedback, suggestions, and just having a conversation! I know I may have attracted readers from the various types of content I previously dabbled in, so just let me know if there’s something you’d like to see or a category of post I haven’t made in a while that you enjoyed. Although I write these posts just for fun, I still want to make sure that other people can enjoy what I’m putting out.

As a side note– I know times are really tough right now, physically, emotionally, financially– all of it. Reading blogs and books and the like is honestly such a nice escape from the news, other exhausting forms of media, and reality in general. I’m not just saying this because I want you to read my posts. I’m saying it because I know we all need to give ourselves some TLC right now, and reading can be super relaxing, enriching, and entertaining all in one. If you need some book recommendations, check out my recent post about the books I’ve read in spring. I will be making a similar post at the end of summer about all the books I read in the summer months.

Happy one year of this blog! Hopefully there are many more to come. Thank you all again 🙂 Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Valleys – Poem by Me

the syllables get caught in my throat trying to 
slide off my tongue-- the word doesn't look
right when i type it out in a paper. 

v a l l e y s
forget these silly grammar rules of words ending in
Y and changing it to -ies

forget the word itself, forget the valleys (and the valleies)
where the heat traps itself in the air, where
the wind blows just a little bit harder

This was a short one, but I thought it was kinda fun since I focused in on a specific word. I technically live in a valley (valley is part of my city’s name!) so it’s just something I thought about using as the topic of a poem. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or any writing challenges you’d like me to try out in the near future. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Picnic in the Park – Poem by Me

a lazy afternoon, summertime starting to bloom
     a picnic basket holds down a checkered blanket
on the overgrown grass, shaded by an equally 
     overgrown oak tree. a middle-aged woman can

usually be seen complaining about the maintenance
     somewhere on the grounds. a slight breeze
blows by, leaving the leaves and weaker branches
     to sway in the air, almost suspended in 

movement for a few seconds each way. an attractive
     young couple opens the basket hungrily, to 
reveal sandwiches, fruits, and a bottle of champagne.
     the same middle-aged woman will pause her

complaining to lecture the couple on their 
    drinking in public, but they will laugh it off. they
pretend to stow the bottle away in the basket
    again until she leaves. the sun beats down on

your forehead. you continue to watch the
    couple enjoy their late lunch, as you are the
observer,
    like always

I hope you enjoyed this piece! It was a fun one to write. I could honestly write tons of poems about the different scenes and people I observe while taking my daily walks around my neighborhood park. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this piece or writing challenges you’d like me to try out. Stay safe and healthy.

Brooke

Books I’ve Read In Spring 2020

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to be going over all the books I’ve read in the past couple months. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been keeping track of everything on Goodreads, which makes it much easier to make this post. If you’re interested in finding out what I’ve been reading and my opinions on each book, keep on scrolling.

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany – I don’t know how, but I was never really aware that this add-on to the Harry Potter series was a thing. I didn’t love everything about it (no spoilers here though) but I was happy to have anything added onto the series. In some ways, I think the series would’ve been fine without this add on, but I’ll take what I can get. I would love to see the actual play live someday. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.
  2. Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan – My mom got this on Amazon as a whim and I read it after her. It falls under the umbrella of Instagram poetry, but since I write a decent amount of poetry in that style myself, I was still able to appreciate it. I also like work that relates to the moon/astrology so that was interesting for me. I rated it 3/5 on Goodreads.
  3. Almost Home by Madisen Kuhn – This was another book my mom ordered and I ended up reading. I thought the separation of the book into different rooms/parts of the house was clever, and I related to Kuhn’s sentiments about never really feeling at home, but I wasn’t particularly in love with any of the poems. Kuhn is another Instagram poet, so I’d avoid this if you don’t like that style. I rated it 3/5 on Goodreads.
  4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – I read this for English class, and I really enjoyed it. I had actually been thinking a lot about the nature of man lately just because of everything going on in the world right now and our (our meaning society’s) reaction to it all. It was a short and easy read, and I was able to pick up on the symbolism in it. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.
  5. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – We were supposed to read this in my English class but it got cut from the distance learning curriculum. I had already bought it in advance, so I read it on my own. Although I know the message behind the story is important, it was very hard for me to get through despite it being a short read. I rated it 3/5 on Goodreads.
  6. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – This is an outlier on this list since it’s a spiritual self-help book, but I still wanted to include it. It’s enlightening but still in the way of being hard to take action and follow the book’s advice in everyday life. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.
  7. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson – LOVED this. It was suggested but not required reading for my writing workshop. It was a super fast read and honestly my dream book since it incorporated supernatural elements with an otherwise realistic fiction plot. I rated it 5/5 on Goodreads.
  8. I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood by Tiana Clark – This is a book of poetry that’s required reading for my writing workshop. Clark’s poems are moving and I think everyone should read this and support her as a talented Black poet. I rated it 5/5 on Goodreads.
  9. Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson – This is a book with multiple short stories, all somewhat different from one another. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Nothing to See Here, but I definitely do love Wilson’s work and hope to read more of it soon. I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the books I’ve read recently, and that this inspires you go to spend some time reading. Whether it’s an old favorite or something new, reading is always such a relaxing and nice pastime. Plus, it’s summer! Congrats to everyone who is finishing up/has just finished their school year. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke

Checkpoint – How Is 2020 Going?

Hello everyone!

The amount of things that have happened in 2020 so far is disturbing, astounding, and insane all at once. I’ll list the major events here real fast in case you might be forgetting any of the main points (not necessarily in chronological order):

  • Fires in Australia
  • COVID-19 pandemic which led to quarantines all over the world and economic downturn
  • Impeachment trials for President Trump
  • Death of Kobe Bryant along with his daughter and other passengers
  • Murder hornets
  • The horrible killing of George Floyd and many peaceful protests advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement as well as some violent riots
  • Ebola outbreak in the Congo
  • Stock market plunge and unemployment rates rivaling those of the Great Depression (I’m not an expert on the economy and I believe the state of both the stock market and the unemployment rate have already improved though)
  • Overall poor leadership from President Trump (my opinion) as most recently seen through him hiding in his bunker and building a wall in front of the White House

So, yeah. 2020 isn’t going too great for the world, as most of you probably know/think if you’ve been keeping up with the news. But what can we do now?

The first thing is definitely to VOTE in November– if you are eligible to vote, please make sure you are registered and are going to do so. We will not see change unless we vote for leaders that are going to take action and advocate for our rights/have the people’s interests at heart. Sadly I am not eligible to vote and I will not be for a couple more years, but I will be able to pre-register to vote in August when I turn 16. I think the laws about when you can pre-register might be different depending on what state you’re in, but if you are a teenager wanting to pre-register, please do that when you are eligible!

The second thing is to keep in touch with your friends and family and check in on them. Some people are reacting differently to the events happening in the world than others, so some people may need a lot more support from you. It’s especially important to have some interaction considering how long everyone’s been in quarantine.

Please try to keep in mind that we cannot lose hope in the world/the future just because of these unfortunate and tragic events that have happened lately. If anything, we need to keep our heads up and fight even harder for the issues we believe in. I know some of the things that have happened this year such as fires and the initial spread of COVID-19 were uncontrollable, but for the political issues it is so important to be an advocate and use your voice in some way. Things will get better and change will have to happen in some capacity if we keep fighting for it.

This is probably the hardest thing to do (MUCH easier said than done), but try to maintain a positive outlook and find the silver linings in recent events. It’s been difficult for me too and I’m definitely not perfect as far as being the most positive person, but I’m trying my best. Whether it’s appreciating your daily walks or the fact that you have some free time to catch up on reading or the FaceTime calls you have with your friends, find that thing that brings some joy and normalcy to your day.

I’m always here to chat with you guys if you want to leave a comment or contact me through the Contact page on this blog. I know it’s been a tough past few months, but we can do this. If our world can make it through everything that’s happened in 2020 so far, we can make it through anything. Please stay safe and healthy out there.

Brooke