Crows, My Muses by Emilie Mayer

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)

Daily Thoughts by Gemma Collins

As sophomore year has progressed, I find myself in a perpetual state of confusion. Lately, I ponder what I am doing and what is happening. This feeling has become familiar, as I wait for it to greet me in waking from many daydreams. One question that has recently been frequenting my mind is this: “how did I get here?” An enigma in itself, this thought plagues me, seeping into my head and infiltrating my dreams. The other night I even dreamt of a talking fish, and if that’s not bewildering enough, I do not know what is. I may not be a psychologist, but I would assume this thought comes from a jumbled sense of time. See, each month feels long in the moment, but short in retrospect, and spending most of my time at home causes the hours to blend together, leaving the all but delicious stone soup of my lovely days. The first semester’s end looms, however, I barely remember the beginning months of this school year, hence the question: how did I get here? Still not sure. 

This question emerges occasionally throughout my day in various scenarios, including walking into a room and forgetting my tasks, or waking up and momentarily forgetting where I am before realizing I just had unexpectedly fallen asleep. In these common situations, my memory and logic return soon and the moment of confusion is fleeting, leaving me without much to wonder anymore. Pondering how I am suddenly half-way through sophomore year has proven to be much more difficult to answer. Lately, academic shortcomings provide an exhilarating sense of risk factor that enhances my life, filling the gaps created by my questions. Creative Writing functions as one of those high stakes things that allows me to devote my attention to currently overflowing assignments instead of exploring the ins and outs of existential questions. The question: “how did I get here?” is hauntingly unresolved, however, now I figure it is merely one more item to add to my list of thoughts to attend to at midnight.

Gemma Collins (Class of ’23)

Struggling With Poetry By Otto Handler

Performance poetry is usually the first unit of the year in the Creative Writing department. Last year, as a freshman with two weeks of workshopping summer work, I felt like I wasn’t ready for the unit ahead of me. Not that our performance poetry unit last year was unsatisfactory, quite the opposite. I’m sure I would have appreciated it more if I didn’t have the case of the freshmen nerves.

Our artist-in-residence, Preeti Vangani, has helped me look at poetry with less tribulation. Now, as a sophomore, many things have changed, I have chosen the elements of writing that I feel I am better at. I am becoming more confident in my work as the unit progresses. Poetry is still a form that I need the most work on. I am fine with this fact and still have two more years to work on improving my writing skills in general.

I was able to fully experience and participate more like a full member of Creative Writing during this unit. I have written a more promising peace for the show coming up in late October. I am looking forward to the show because I now have a piece I feel more confident and generally happy about and that I didn’t just choose this piece a few short hours before school. I’ve actually had some time to type up some of the prompts, that I had written throughout the week no matter what I had thought about them originally. This is a poem that I wrote for this year’s performance poetry unit:

 

Unchangeable

You don’t like that word?

You like that word?

Burn in hell

I don’t care

Because I hate it

So, we’re gonna change it

NOW!

And I mean NOW!

The world will immediately and without noise bend to my will.

No one and nothing will ever describe anything as unchangeable again

No more unchangeable ADHD

No more unchangeable slow processing

No more unchangeable other things

 

How ‘bout

We knock the two letters “U” and “N” off a cliff

Never to be heard from again.

Let’s see what we have left.

You see, everything just becomes changeable.

Unsatisfied becomes satisfying

Uneven becomes even.

Unfortunate becomes fortunate

How does that sound.

Yes

I know and don’t care if its not grammarly correct.

That’s not the point.

What is the point one asks?

To change that mental mindset everyone carps about

No those words suck too

When one uses those words

They make me want to run away screaming

Out

Of

My

Mind

 

I know all of this

Small stupid rant

sounds too positive

So full of sunshine

So full of promise

So full of hope

So, I assure you

It will never happen

The two letters are

way too important to the English language.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope.

 

-Otto Handler, Class of 2022