Mimicry as Inspiration

I’ve been leading a creative writing club for high schoolers, which started at the beginning of October. Originally, I wanted to have us start off the year with a bang with NaNoWriMo via the Young Writers Program, but these students are all second language English learners, so that was a bit too overwhelming of a start. (Poor planning on me…)

I proposed we start with something simpler, and they all eagerly agreed. Therefore, I introduced them to Billy Collins’ “Litany.” When I was in college, one of my professors told us to mimic this poem as a means to improving our writing–mimicking can improve sentence structure and syntax–and I decided to borrow from said professor by having these students do the same. All in all, I really enjoyed what they came up with and would love to share their poems, but I am pretty sure that is not a great idea. Instead, with apologies to Billy Collins, mine follows:

You are the cherries and the pie,
the black coffee and the white mug.
You are the frost on the windowpane
and the flame of a candle.
You are the gentle crunch of snow underfoot
and the final glow of sunset.

However, you are not the bite of winter,
the icicles on the gutter,
or the frozen pond.
And you are certainly not a night storm.
There is just no way that you are a night storm.

It is possible that you are the pumpkins on the porch,
maybe even the last leaves of autumn,
but you are not even close
to being the trick-or-treaters at the door.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the witch’s cauldron
nor the ghouls haunting the graveyard.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the copper kettle on the stove.

I also happen to be the afghan on the sofa,
the dough rising on the kitchen counter
and the garlands of onions in the pantry.

I am also the last morning star
and the first hint of sunrise.
But don’t worry, I’m not the cherries and the pie.
You are still the cherries and the pie.
You will always be the cherries and the pie,
not to mention the black coffee and–somehow–the white mug.

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Criticism and Grace

Trigger Warning: discussion of body issues (self-esteem, eating disorders, etc.)

Way back in January of this year, one of my aunts posted on Facebook about picking a word for the year. The idea was that you pick a word that becomes, more or less, your year’s theme. Some people picked thankfulness, others picked joy, I chose the word grace. My thinking going in was that I would work on extending grace both to others and to myself. Now, as we are on the eve of the new year, I think it’s a great time to reflect back on the year and see how it went. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2013, or “That didn’t exactly go according to plan…”

Back in October, I could not decide if I wanted to attempt NaNoWriMo. I first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2009, where I somehow managed to pass the finishing line before midnight on November 30th. It was stressful, but I did it, and I felt so incredibly proud of myself. Needless to say, I was hooked from then on, and I have since faithfully returned to NaNoWriMo every new November. Each year, I won, and most years, it was a very close finish. However, I was only working during those years, and not trying to balance school, so this year, I just did not know if I should even bother signing up. But then my friends gradually announced their NaNo plans, and some of my coworkers said they were going to do it, and…well, now you know how I got suckered into it for another year. Continue reading

Block and Diversion

It’s been two hours since I left work, and I’m still not home, so I’ve had more than ample time to sit on the bus and think things over in general. More specifically, I’ve been pondering NaNoWriMo, and even more specific than that, I’ve been chewing over my minuscule word count. I have just over one day’s worth of words, and we are moving towards day 6. So you could say that I’m a little behind, which isn’t terrible. I’ve caught up from worse. This isn’t the end of the world by far. Continue reading

Probably not the wisest decision I’ve ever made…

2013-Participant-Vertical-Banner…but I signed up once again for NaNoWriMo. This will be my fifth year, and I will probably–quite possibly–die as a result. 😛 Work plus commuting by bus plus grad school plus NaNo? Hoo boy…

At least I have a bunch of writing buddies who are being crazy with me, right? If you want to join in the fun, throw caution to the wind! Join in the literary abandon! And add me as a writing buddy (Gears_n_Cogs)! Let’s be writerly together. 🙂