Life was simpler back then, I’m told
And how things change as we grow old
The children now are uncontrolled
I once was important, you know
I made my choices long ago
And built this world for my ego
We ran fast from the nuclear snow
Now I give my messes to you
What a gift! If only you knew
These towers of gold are my due
Rome never fell, it’s in my view
Here, I’ll play you a little song
All the things I ever did wrong
The face I wore to prove I’m strong
These things meant nothing all along
And now I am growing so cold
Life was simpler back then, I’m told
I never wanted to grow old
The march of time is uncontrolled
The march of time never ends
I was in a cynical mood today, and I think my general annoyance with life came out a bit more than I like. This poem is a warning that if we don’t actively make choices to preserve the lives that come after us then we are doomed to be the villains we once hated in our youth. Because time always marches on, and that free-spirited youth we cherish will eventually disappear like a dream. Eventually, it will belong to someone else.
Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself to not be a jerk. Money, power, and fame are nice while they last, but there’s no sense in keeping a trophy case in your grave. Even the pharaohs couldn’t keep their treasures buried with them, and they tried harder than anyone to hoard their wealth in death.
Anyway, I’m still in a bit of a mood, so I’ll leave things off here. I hope you enjoyed my poem, and I’ll see you next time!
When I was first starting out as a writer, a more experienced author gave me the invaluable advice to never use a notebook with a beautiful cover. He said that no matter what you write in a beautiful notebook, it will never be good enough. It will never live up to its cover. And he was right. Whenever I tried to start a story or poem in a notebook with a lovely cover, I always ended up feeling intimidated and gave up easily.
Eventually, I learned how to bind my own books and I set about creating notebooks with covers that were intentionally messy and ugly. They became my favorite and most valued writing tools. With hastily scrawled writing reference on covers plastered with duct tape and spare bits of paper, I could approach all of my writing with confidence. So I thought, why not make ugly notebooks that other writers can use?
So I did.
It is my pleasure to announce the launch of My Ugly Writing Journal! This journal is designed to not intimidate. It will be the ugliest journal you’ve ever owned, and you will love it all the more for its hideous facade. My Ugly Writing Journal, in addition to boasting a terrible design with quick reference to plot points and the Story Circle on the front and back cover, also contains a brief step-by-step plotting workbook that will quickly take you from the brainstorming process, through a plotting questionnaire, all the way to an economic worldbuilding exercise that can help you focus your research to only the most important aspects of the world you’ve created. By the time you’ve filled out the pages of this journal, you’ll have everything you need to start writing your story.
If you want to find out more, feel free to check out my book page where you can see one of the ugly notebook designs and learn a little bit about why My Ugly Writing Journal is such a good resource. Or you can go directly to my sales page on Amazon.com and buy the journal write away. Whatever you decide, I hope My Ugly Writing Journal becomes a helpful tool in your writing adventures! Thanks for stopping by!
let me drown in pillows
i’ll sink into the blankets
and let the storm pass overhead
memory foam seas take me away
let the bed frame be my lifeboat
and the headboard a gravestone
“here lies someone who tried
and who was never good enough”
curtains drawn and light dim
the sound of life moves by
there are sirens in the distance
but their music comes too late
i’m already too far into the depths
to be dragged down any further
they sing and fade away
and i lay dashed upon the rocks
never to return home
and never to leave my sea bed
i remember the days of joy
when the voyage was not so brutal
and we looked on to distant skies
with the innocence of youth
“ah. so beautiful,” we cried
“so much possibility
so much wonder”
so much for hope.
It might not surprise you to know that, lately, I’ve been feeling really run down. As I was lying in bed letting misery get the better of me, I had the passing thought of sinking into the softness of the mattress. Then I had a second passing thought that if I stayed in bed like I was doing, nothing would ever change.
Writing is pretty amazing in a lot of ways. Stories help us escape our reality, but the process of writing is therapeutic. I’ve been a huge proponent of writing therapy for many years, now. I’ve used it in my own life, as I did with this poem, but I also advocated for writing therapy in my professional career as a grant writer at a behavioral health nonprofit. There is so much science behind the benefits that writing provides to people experiencing depression, especially with regard to learning and practicing the technical skills of writing.
Today I was sad, and that sadness caused me to unexpectedly spiral back into the gloom-dungeon that is my depression. Writing helps me find the way out again. If you’re going through something similar, I recommend taking fifteen minutes out of your day to write out whatever it is that you feel. Let the writing carry away the pain so you can see beyond it.
And always remember that if you’re having a hard time or considering taking your own life, please seek help. Ask friends or family if you’re able. Find a behavioral health clinic or therapist in your area that can see you right away. Or, if you don’t have access to family or a therapist who can help, go to a local emergency room and let them know what you’re going through. They can help provide you with the resources you need to make it through. You’re worth it. (Call or text 988 to reach the national suicide and crisis hotline.)
Within the trees, I bared my soul
to sympathetic ears;
all the bitter memories
that plagued me through the years.
A skipping stone within my hands
and tears along my face,
I gave up that misery
along the river’s banks.
And when the winter froze my heart,
the woods became my spring;
melting all the ice away
to quell my suffering.
Within the trees, I bared my soul.
Within the trees, I prayed.
In the pleasant wooded grove,
my worries were allayed.
It’s another nature-based poem! I used Robert Frost as inspiration for this one, since he’s one of the poets whose work regarding nature I most appreciate. Still, I tried to make it my own. The intent was to have the poem truly embody my own feelings and experiences with nature.
In every place I’ve ever lived, I always make time to visit state and community parks. As a teenager, my favorite place to spend time with friends or even find a bit of alone time was in the local park. I would spend hours there, playing on the playground equipment, climbing trees, or walking aimlessly. It was the most difficult time of my life, but I was always able to find a small amount of peace among the trees.
Nature really is therapeutic. It gives in abundance and asks for nothing in return. It’s the safe place we can go when society becomes too demanding or complicated. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I enjoyed writing it!
The forest slept, and my unsteady feet
pursued a path through thicket, thorn, and bush
to long-forgotten shrines of nature’s heart.
With youthful rage and little thought besides,
my hands began a work of ill design–
to burn and break; as I was, deep inside.
As forest’s heart succumbed to ash and fire
and critters fled in fear of wrathful acts–
perpetuated by a foolish child–
the spirits of the forest mourned as one.
Their stirring cries awoke a kindred soul.
Emerging from the depth of night, the war-
rior was tall and fair. A crown of this-
tle tangled in his hair and silver eyes
observed my every move. The knight removed
a golden sword and lashed a mark upon
my skin. He grinned, his mouth too wide and long;
and death itself could not instill such fear.
I fled as fast as stumbling feet would go
into the boughs I once destroyed with glee.
Behind, the calls of wild pursuit came near;
but trees gave shelter I did not deserve
and kept the raging fae from drawing near
until, at last, the knight perceived my lair.
The golden flash of sword ripped through the air;
into my chest, the precious metal plunged.
A sting of fire encroached upon my core
and I awoke amid a plain of ash.
Inside the ring of blackened trees I’d felled,
my smoke-filled lungs expunged themselves at last.
The hunt of night before was but a dream,
and yet my weary thoughts could not forsake
the memory of shelter in the dark.
I plunged my hands into the ashy soil
and grew myself amid the ruined earth.
It’s been a while since I’ve written in iambic pentameter, but I decided to try it out again as practice for a book I’m about to write where certain characters only speak in iambic. It’s a fun exercise either way, and I hope you all enjoy what I was able to come up with this time.
I love the idea of a character finding respite in a place she tried to destroy and then mourning for the destruction that she caused. The last line, where she says she grew herself, was purposefully ambiguous. The story is a fairy tale, so I wanted the reader to decide whether growing herself was a reference to emotional maturity or if it was literal growth as the narrator became a tree to replace what she’d taken from the world.
Some of my writing practice from here on out will most likely include themes of nature and magic while I’m working on my current book. I tend to focus my writing practice on certain elements that will be helpful in crafting the themes and prose of whatever larger story I’m trying to tell. This type of practice also builds a certain level of excitement in me with regard to the books I write. It’s always exciting to try out new things that I might be able to use to improve my prose.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading my poem! I’ll see you again next week with something new!
Pleasant moments are treasures in the darkness;
hidden away and uncovered by adventurers and kings;
shared among those who keep secrets
and whisper them as jokes between friends.
They are illusive as fairies living on windowsills,
frollicking in garden pastures and forest groves
until someone steals a glance; then they disappear
or hide in the corner of the eye, giggling
because happiness is the only way to pass the time.
Melancholy is the way of the world
when the sun awakes, but covers are drawn
over the head and people die inside thinking of existing.
It is silence in the evening; deep yawns and aching bones
that say, “you’re alive and times are bad,”
though friends and strangers insist it will get better.
All the moments of loneliness rear their head
and bite at heels, driving onward to the comfort of oblivion
as the world looks on in shame at flights of angst.
Because sadness is a sin only the weak dare commit.
Is he good enough to grab your heart
or will he just grab your
aspirations mean nothing to them
You’ve got a pretty face
You’re a pretty face
The times when it matters
Time won’t be good to you, anyway
who cares who you are
who cares what you love
who cares that you care about anything
Those lovely eyes are a window
to an empty house
waiting to be filled by him
Smile for me, babe
Don’t let them see you waste away
Paint on the surface
girl, you deserve this
Doesn’t it feel so good
Yeah maybe he touched you
but you liked it like that
Cause you look like you do
and you dress a certain way
You asked for it
begged him to
Let’s let him get away
He promises to be so good
would you rob him of everything
Don’t show us that you are real
Is he good enough to grab your heart
or will he just grab your
aspirations mean nothing
Nothing is meant to be
If it’s meant to be
then it can’t be changed
it can’t be changed
it can’t be
Dishes in the sink;
sweat stains on the couch;
the smell of old wood.
Light filters through windows
in prisms of color
that streak the ground in pastel rainbows.
Particles of dust dance in the air–
an everlasting waltz.
His skin smells of soap and spice.
The stubble on his cheek
leaves trails of red across soft, pale skin.
Calloused and scarred fingers
trace gentle circles on my hips,
reminding me ever gently
that this is love;
this is life;
this is home.
Worthy to be loved
Worthy to be seen
Worthy to bear the fruit
To stand in the shadows of kings
to bear the burdens of artist and ingenue
to hold the weight of the future in my womb
Unworthy to share machinations of thought
Unworthy to be heard
Unworthy to choose a path beyond the cultivated garden
where my mother was beaten to submission
where her light was stolen and smothered
where she did no greater good than the day she bore a son
One day you’ll be president
One day you’ll be Queen
One day the world will stand in awe of what you’ve done
A little lie because we don’t want them to know
a little lie to give some hope
a little lie because you’re worthy to be loved
but only in body
and even then
only for a while
Static burns in my chest
scraping raw the edges
where hope meets reality.
I once dreamed in technicolor
though the world tells me
that black and white is the limit.
Who are you to stop me
from bleeding color into life;
a desperate hope though it is?
I have ink for blood,
and I’m not afraid to use it–
to lose the pigment that fills me.
Though the static leaves scars
and the dream has long faded,
There is nothing else.