Starting in third grade, teachers would find novels concealed within my textbooks. Throughout middle school, I would write songs that I imagined One Direction could sing upon their reunion. Last year, I discovered that math quizzes are the ideal place to test out new poems. Other than providing evidence that I am not the most attentive of students— these instances show how I’ve used words as a preoccupation, something to fill the gap that the day’s mundanities leave within my mind. That is, writing filled that space until this year.
This year is an outlier. I have little motivation to submit my homework assignments, let alone write a five page story. And while the first few months of Shelter in Place were filled with inspiration, recording an inexplicable experience, there are only so many poems you can write about staring blankly out your bedroom window. All this is to say— Netflix is running out of shows for me to watch, while my writer’s portfolio remains rather slim.
For all the writing time lost, exercise has taken some of its place. Over Shelter in Place, I’ve become solely responsible for walking our family dog, a sickeningly energetic German Shepherd. Due to her size, and the fact that if not thoroughly exhausted she’ll wake my father at midnight, my dog requires an hour minimum of outdoor activities. She was pulling me home after one such excursion, when the two of us spotted a flock of crows. While I had not truly been moved to write in months, I sat down on the pavement right there —my dog sat upon my lap— and began drafting a poem on my phone. The opening lines said something similar to “everyone hates on crows, but really storks are harbingers of a kind too.” I’ll admit, the poem wasn’t my most insightful piece ever, but it was the first piece I had enjoyed plotting out in a long while.
The next day, I spotted the flock again. Or perhaps it was a different flock, but they were undeniably birds. I sat down —this time on a bench— and wrote another poem. In the last three weeks, I’ve completed five poems about the crows of my neighborhood. Honestly, I feel if I keep writing crow poems at the pace I’m going then I might eventually give Poe a run for his money. Either way, I’ve rediscovered that sparkle that writing used to have for me. Writing is like a game, a puzzle to solve in your free time. Words are to be arranged until they make me giddy after reading what I’ve produced. Writing isn’t a chore like classes, or something to be mindlessly consumed like Netflix. It’s exciting, and difficult, and ultimately something that should be fun. Now, I’m ready to start this next calendar year fresh with a more energetic, crow-filled, mindset.
Emilie Mayer (Class of ’23)