I hope you are all staying safe and warm where you live. Here in NC, the ground is saturated, and the cold rain continues. But muddy paws and disappointing impeachment trials aside, the beautiful words of this publication help keep me going. Thank you so much for your continued readership, and to our writers, thank you for filling our lives with your thoughts and art.
Did you know we now have an editor’s picks page? Please take a look! The featured pieces from January are:
Each of these unique pieces is worthy of your time!
My baby, who was due on Valentine’s Day, 2011, born 2/12/11, turned 10 this week, I have a lot of feelings about that. Our most recent prompt connects time passing and children growing up to parenthood and feeling needed.
On a personal note, I have intentionally slowed down my own writing this month. It has been a year since my father died, and I am feeling more introspective without wanting to produce too much. I ride my moods.
However, there are many projects in the works. Did you know, besides teaching in the classroom, I teach individualized writing lessons and coach writers of all ages? I have a new client today, and I am very excited to work with her.
I am in the process of putting together my second poetry collection. I hope to have this ready by the end of the month!
That’s all for now. Thank you for your continued support!
Last night, we tried to set up the telescope my son got for Christmas last year, but the tripod was broken, and the view from my front yard was clear to look with our eyes. It was incredible to see the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction on a relatively mild North Carolina evening. Even though I live in the city, I can still find a way to block out much of the light pollution to star and moon gaze.
Dealing with the loss of my father both closed me down and opened me up. A lot of my poetry in Sky Collection became about that experience. It was a way for me to grieve, I suppose. Growing up, I was always losing my dad. This year was just the final loss. Ambiguous grief has been difficult throughout my life. It is a sense of always waiting for the next trauma to happen.
Ambiguous grief/anxiety took on a whole new meaning this year because of COVID-19, and that anxiety is far from over. I still feel like I am waiting. Waiting to be with people I love. Waiting to go somewhere. Waiting to feel safe enough again. Waiting to get my son into more stuff again. Waiting for things to go “back to normal.” I want to stop waiting and just be. So if I had to make any new year’s resolutions, that would be it.
My ritual with the new year is not to resolve to stop doing something. Instead, I decide what no longer serves me and slowly or all at once, I let it go. Sometimes I write those things down and burn the paper. Then I decide what to keep with me for the next year. So into 2021, I will bring a new sense of healing, a wonderful writers’ community, a powerful and beautiful writing practice, strength to be a teacher in-person or remotely, stamina to wear a mask all day, everyday.
Looking back at what I accomplished this year in my writing: I wrote a total of 115 poems in my Sky Collection project and hundreds more poems and stories in my notebooks and elsewhere on Medium. I opened up my publication Sky Collection to dozens more writers. I created a writing prompts practice, which inspired many people to create a diversity of responses.
Most of all, I am proud that I published my first poetry collection, Reaching Marrakesh, which is a book I think I have always been writing about losing my dad.
So even though I am finished with last year’s Sky Collection Project, I will also take into the new year my practice of stopping and taking in the sky. It is always important to take sacred pauses — to look up at the sky and notice there is so much more to our universe. To my little patch of sky, thank you for continuing to fill me with wonder and joy.
Hell yes, I will come on your yoga and meditation retreat. I will meet you where I meet myself. I will sing loudly on the way up the mountain. Yes I am of Generation X. I still know all of Dark Side of the Moon by heart.
I am still growing up. It’s fun, remember? It’s also great to go nowhere be seen by no one answer to no one. I will listen to NPR and my books on tape, and I will stop to think and forget to get going again. Yes, turning into my mother (still) wild and earthy hippie she is.
I will laugh about the permanent bruise on my hip because where is my body in space? Where are we anyway?
I will dance with my child and sip coffee and fill in the boxes. crossword and Sudoku. bliss. leisure.
I cannot sit still just like my 5th graders. I need to hold a fidget spinner. My brain at times won’t stop. I will pull at the weeds and not plant anything this year. The garden will volunteer tomatoes. And maybe a pumpkin.
There is a cardinal. Home for a while. I will walk and walk even though my arch hurts and my heel hurts and I stretch beyond what I thought possible. That adjustment in me has yet to come.
I am bold. I speak my mind. I am hard on myself. And then I am not. I get lazy then busy then I just cannot deal with the world.
I love the routine but I want a shake up. I am still that girl on the train. Running that race, swimming the lake, learning guitar. Singing and singing with all my heart.
I am still losing my tent at a music festival. I am still playing house too soon. I am dancing in a light up hula hoop in my wedding dress. I am still lost and totally and completely one hundred percent myself.
Thank you for reading. My name is Samantha. I teach 5th graders everything from Language Arts to How to Be a Good Human. I also teach creative writing classes, workshops, and lessons. I still want to be a writer when I grow up.
your official statement on this issue your seething gas-lighting comedy act obscene and vile as if your actual chastisement gains anything you are not her teacher her grandfather her anything
try humility on for size say the words well done! congratulations! genius! the youth will save us! I want to strive to be you when I grow up! you are a role model for generations to come! what an inspiration! listen to the children!
yet she is another flick of ash in your way discarded and discounted disqualified by you a bug on the windshield a little girl on a swing set
she’s got her eye on you your criticism crying and complaining for a half a second before casting you into the ocean some debris to steer around for better things to do with her time
take your seats the lights are low plenty of space behind the curtain it is a curation desert an empty gallery
that’s art? you ask you like to push time so what did you do Saturday Squanderer he said, practice this chord until your fingers bleed
like learning to whistle she said, you might pass out through your fingers more air, less tongue mean it make it echo to call the dogs off the mountain to hope they don’t come home skunked again or worse, quill-nosed or not at all
find a rock so you can brag about your ability to manifest crystals imposter on a trail what was it all for
you won’t go through that velvet opening your hands are too tired for the heaviness of that drapery or for what the audience might not see