Follow:
    Poetry

    My foe became my love and I didn’t mind at all.

    IMG_6075

    My talented sister Allie painted this based on my poem “highway conversing.”

    One of my favorite genre of writing is poetry!!! Up until a few years ago, I really didn’t enjoy reading or writing poetry because I had it stuck in my head that every stanza and line had to rhyme perfectly and that stressed me the heck out (props to you, Dr. Seuss). But during a creative writing class my senior year of high school, I fell in love with everything about poetry. The minute I had an idea, I found myself scribbling bits and pieces of poetry on anything I could get my hands on. Something as simple as a word or a phrase would get stuck in my head and I’d sprint to the nearest pad of paper (sometimes the back of a homework assignment- oops!) or the Notes app on my phone to write it down. Poetry is still challenging for me, but I find that the end result is always rewarding. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of Rumi Kaur’s and Marina Keegan’s poetry. When I read their works I’m either speechless or running to the nearest available person yelling “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!!” because Kaur and Keegan are able to gracefully put emotions and experiences into words that many (including myself) have a hard time articulating. I think that’s the beauty of poetry.

    Below is a poem I wrote about Allie and Adam. While I wrote this based on their relationship, after sharing it through a collaboration with Allie, I found that readers saw traces of their own relationships and experiences in this piece. It made me realize that we all read with a different lens. Our experiences shape the way we ingest words and craft the ones that slide off our fingers and onto paper. This is the poem that came to life through a simple conversation on a cloudy day during a road trip from Indiana to Ohio:

    highway conversing.
    I asked the man with the beard
    to sketch me a life without her.
    He smiled weakly and told me:

    I sleep on dirt floors and bathe in foreign streams,
    climb tall mountains and receive no relief,
    move far away, let my hair grow to my feet.

    In a deep green forest,
    I search for silence just to hear the
    falling of her breath during a cool night in August.

    In gold frames and on the ceiling above where I sleep,
    I paste her grocery lists and love letters,
    fold them up,
    her thoughts, I keep.

    And when I am old and grey, he said,
    when I have collected a shell from every coast,
    and lined my walls with faceless shapes;
    when my words are etched in marble
    and a shore is in my name,
    do not mistake…
    when I have all of these things,
    do not call,
    for if I do not have her,

    I will have nothing at all.

     

     

    Thanks for reading! See you guys around.

    p.s. Which poets/books of poetry have caught your eye recently? Comment below!!

    Me

    You, Me. This.

     

    Photo by Christian Prenzler

    Photo by Christian Prenzler

    I wished away my four years of high school. I don’t often regret that. My only regret is that I’ve polished, refined, and perfected my ability to wish away moments. This is not a skill I wish to hone or continue, but it’s one that I diligently practiced from 2011 to 2015. I wished away high school because I felt like something bigger and better was waiting for me just beyond the graduation stage, past my principal, and out the back exit. Those four years weren’t particularly awful or spectacular for me. I made lifelong friends, I was taught by incredible teachers, and I learned a lot about myself along the way. But high school didn’t have a significant bearing on my life. It just was. It just happened. And I just didn’t love it.

    The final dance of my senior year was the last time my classmates and I would all be together until we walked across the graduation stage and went our separate ways. It was a designated time for all of us to say goodbye to each other; to take Instagram-worthy pictures of our “squads”; to lament the ending of a chapter in our lives. As we entered the school’s cafeteria I soon realized I was surrounded by sobbing classmates of mine. Girls’ mascara seeped down their cheeks. Teary-eyed selfies were taken. Any feuds occurring at the time were dropped and many simply hugged each other and cried a lot. Even the brooding, tough football players’ eyes were leaking with saltwater. Those were the moments, for many, when the realization set in: it’s all over. And as I was embraced, cried on, and told “I’m so glad I met you. I’m going to miss you so much.” I felt nothing. I kept waiting for all of it to hit me, for that one person to wrap their arms around me, prompting a wave of emotion to collapse my composed exterior. But that never came. “What is wrong with me?” I asked myself. “For crying out loud, I can’t even sit through a commercial with a dog in it without quietly weeping to myself.” This should be sad. I should be sad. But I wasn’t. Admittedly, I faked a few tears into my friend’s shoulder as she hugged me tightly. When we pulled away, I was met with her puffy, scrunched up face. Her voice trembled as she said quietly to herself, “I can’t believe this is happening.” Four years of memories danced clumsily in her eyes and then slid down her cheeks and onto her neon blouse. I brushed at the skin under my eye, gave her another quick hug, and moved on to the next set of tear soaked cheeks.

    As I peered around at a crowd of my crying classmates, I wondered if I didn’t get a memo that they all did. Had I missed an e-mail from my principal about a litter of puppies run down in the school parking lot? The abolishment of birthdays? Ice cream? Possibly. But probably not. There were a few of my peers who, just like me, moved awkwardly through the sea of our sobbing classmates, dry eyes in tow. We exchanged glances of solidarity. We seemed to say to each other “It is what it is, right? You, me. This.” Except we didn’t really know what ‘it’ or ‘this’ was. We felt displaced, confused, a little uneasy. And as we peered around at our classmates, we scratched at the questions festering on the backs of our heads. Had we missed out? Had we lost our chance at having something so special, yet so difficult to say goodbye to? Or in the midst of those four years, were we just spectators of it all, able to see clearly where the lines of high school had begun and ended? I’d like to think a mix of both.

    For me, high school was four years filled with a healthy amount of embarrassing moments, unrequited crushes, and boisterous pep rallies. They were good years. But not the best. And I think that’s okay. I guess I would say to anyone graduating high school: Get excited. Because the last four years will not end up being the best four years of your life. Those years are merely stepping stones leading to a much bigger courtyard. Although it’s a scary and confusing courtyard, it’s bigger and full of pathways that will forever change the course of your place on this planet. For those of you whose tears stained the floor of our high school’s cafeteria that night: the truth is, I envy you. There’s a part of me that wanted to be you, to have that robust connection to a place I spent a good portion of my teen years in. But I’ve realized that I’ll never be you or have the special relationship you have with our Alma Mater. You lived some of your best moments in high school and for those to come to an end, well, that is certainly something worth crying about.

    Maybe I said goodbye to high school long before it was over. Maybe I never said hello to begin with. Maybe we were just two strangers nearing each other on the sidewalk, bracing ourselves for a collision that might ensue, relieved when the only contact we made was the exchange of a head nod, the brushing of shoulders, and a subtle shift to the other side of a concrete walkway. Maybe it was like that. Maybe we just missed each other.

    Thoughts On Writing

    I sew my fear into a purse.

    IMG_0605I carry around a small, black leather purse wherever I go. It’s usually slung around my body in a Jack Bauer-esque way, swinging from side to side as I make my way from destination to destination. Inside the cotton-polyester lining of this bag are a few tubes of Burt’s Bees chapstick, a neatly folded, yet very old, square of Kleenex tissues (just in case I have an inevitable sneeze attack in public), stray bobby pins, a lone hair tie, my phone, my wallet, a book (if it’s small enough) and a pen (because I’m a writer- it’s my civic duty to carry around a pen- and my degree requires it!) Anyway, you get the point. I have my essentials in this purse; if I was dropped off in the middle of a desert with it I probably wouldn’t survive for very long, but I would have super moisturized lips and a copy of The Great Gatsby to read.

    Sewn into the seams of this purse with rigid, synthetic thread are the fears I carry around as a writer. If you’re a writer and you don’t have fears about your writing, the future, your worth and talent based on your writing, or how you’re going to make a living off of writing, well, you’re probably not a writer. There are probably a few of you out there who are scoffing as you skim the next few paragraphs because you don’t have this problem and you’re just doing just fine. Well, 1. You are the exception to the rule and I offer you my sincerest congratulations. Seriously. You’ve won the great battle of being a writer and you’re going places. 2. You’re lying to yourself. You have fears, but you’ve sewn them into the carpet of a junk-filled, dimly lit closet where you never have to look at them. You know that and I know that.

    Fear has made a bad name for himself or herself (or maybe it’s an animal of some kind? Whatever makes sense to you). We sometimes act like our fear as writers is some ominous cloud raining on the sunny day picnic we planned for our writing. I’m learning to accept that my fear as a writer is created solely by me and for me. It’s easy to blame a lack of writing on our fear of writing something bad or not good enough. Guys, we are feeding ourselves absolute CRAP!!! We are making fear out to be this big, bad guy waiting for us in a dark alley with a lighter up to our precious, unwritten New York Times Bestselling manuscript. I see dozens of articles on Pinterest and in books on writing that are making writer’s block an “Us vs. Fear” cage match where the only solution is to defeat fear and pin its back to the ground while a referee yells “KNOCKOUT”. Why are we fighting fear? Have you ever thought about how great it would be if a superhero joined forces with his or her nemesis? Two powerful, intelligent individuals (with superhuman powers and spandex suits) teaming up to make amazing things happen? This is no different! Join forces with your fear, embrace it, and use it to inspire yourself and your work. And even if you’re not ready to fly around with your fear or even get coffee with your fear and discuss the mundanes of life, at least open up that dark closet and acknowledge the threads of fear that are holding you back from getting a few words down on paper. I’ve chosen to sew my fear into my purse and I carry those fears around with me every day. It’s a good reminder that fear makes my life a little more exciting and unpredictable. I’m not working towards a time in my life when my fear of writing dissipates and my mind is a cauldron of inspiration and best seller ideas because that’s not real and, frankly, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t mistake this pep talk of a blog post as my way of saying I’ve completely overcome making fear out to be a bad guy. Trust me, there have been and still are seasons of my life when I treat my fear of writing like a monster under my bed. Sew your fear into the seams of your life where things are falling apart. And if that doesn’t work at first, it’s 100% OK. Onward, writer friends of mine. Fear is about to become your best friend.

    – Olivia

     

    p.s. Welcome to my blog! I’ll see you around.