Tag: academia

Feeling lightning

You ever just look at something, a scene or an object, or maybe just the colors of light crawling through your window and get a feeling? A big feeling?

I can’t really explain it, but in an attempt to capture what it is I’m feeling, I write poetry. Sometimes poetry doesn’t make sense, people may think. It’s “obscure,” or “cryptic,” or “hard to follow.” For me, though, poetry is a way to conjure a feeling in me and in others… And sometimes those feelings are neither logical nor linear.

A good part of my academic writing career was spent trying to untangle it all, to make phrases and terms more everyday, to put a story or narrative to it (the feelings), but what I have allowed myself (post-college) is to just… write. I have silenced the committee, somewhat, and learned to trust what I write. But this isn’t just poems.

A couple years ago, a barista friend of mine from Starbucks asked to use my friend and I as her thesis project. She came over, made us doodle or color or paint, all the while allowing us to just be, just emote. Before that moment, I had rarely given myself the chance to draw or paint from me—instead I copied and mimicked the world around me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have loads of respect for those who can paint as detailed and realistic as a photograph, but this is the very thing that kept me from painting and doodling more. I wasn’t pressured to create an exact replica, but permitted to explore my own creativity. Wow!

I can only assume this is what happened with my writing. Once I was able to transcend the lines of reality (along with my own version of it) words became completely unfettered for me. It seemed boundless.

Today as I left my office, that 8 to 5 home-away-from-home, I caught a feeling. It was something in the way the sun, lower than usual, hit the glass door, the golden-orange of it. I don’t know how to explain the feeling. A cup of nostalgia. It took me somewhere. It reminded me that the world isn’t so linear, isn’t so black and white.

I can trace the world around me with a sharp pencil, memorize inches and hues, or I can take all that lightning in my chest and use it to shake the world, make it my own.

I hope you do too. I hope you wrangle your own storms and stop trying to chase everyone else’s.



I’m in a bit of writing rut.

If you have known me in the last month or so, you’d say I’m crazy. I’ve been spending incredible amounts of time lost in my poems with a new manuscript in the works (perhaps!) and even the times when I’m not writing, I am thinking of it… but I guess that’s just it—lost.

During my time at both Pitt Greensburg and Chatham, I was faced with a lot of ideas about writing. Each professor had her (mostly her) own MO when it came to writing—everything from muses and inspiration to navigation within the poem via line breaks and internal rhyming… well, you get the idea. Strange, but sometimes their words stick in me even when I’m not reaching for guidance. I’ve got a little committee happening. The worst part is that much is conflicting and, at some level, I need to find my own methodology, you know?

Professor V said: “There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.”
J still makes good at setting aside a time, like a schedule, for writing.
Dr. M. told me it was okay to keep writing about the same thing, that sometimes you had to just write it out of you. Also: when you’re feeling it, like you need to write and you’re on a roll, the rest of the world comes second.
B always told me to “write the fucking poem.”

Just a brief snippet of what’s on my mind. These are all in encouraging in their own way, but never before have I felt so stifled by my subject.

No matter. I’m sure it will pass. Going to re-focus my energies in acrylic.

Getting a porch show tonight, like last. This night, though, it isn’t lightening, but UFO’s, which we have (for solace?) dubbed as paper lanterns. They seems to be on fire—something like a dying firework, but they float strangely then disappear. It’s a somber lullaby out here tonight, sung by the incessant, high-pitched snarls of neighborhood cats hunting each other.

I want another three-day weekend. Rightthissecond. I’m turning liquid again…

Just bee

Well, if you haven’t heard… I’ll be Professor Chicken by the end of this month. Ok. I’m teaching one class at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. (From where I graduated about… ugh… 4 years ago.) Wow. Anyhow, it has me working some serious tail feathers, along with my arty art projects and cooking and sweating (the humidity this way has been obnoxious) and and and still trying to keep up any sort of motivation to do normal things like grocery shop, clean Mr. Winston’s cage, or sleep. Summer-induced insomnia. Nice.

But fall is coming! Are you pumped? It’s my favorite, even if it is cliche. These last few days, the air just feels like fall, you know? To me, it is so much more fresh than spring. Spring is mud and melted snow and rain and mud. And while Tash finds it depressing, the upcoming leaf-falling season gives me this strange feeling in my tummy—like butterflies with dumbbells tied to their wings. And THEN this whole montage of flashbacks (haunted houses, sipping cider, carving pumpkins, etc.) plays in my head with the reflective yet raspy backdrop of “It’s a Wonderful World.” Ha. It’s not that serious, maybe, but it is that corny.

I took this little snap when Tash and I went to visit Amy in Lancaster (Lan-cus-ter: she’ll beat you if you don’t say it right). We were hiking somewhere crazy (up RT 81, I believe)… and the whole forest floor was covered like this. It was like a dream…

Speaking of dream. That’s one huge pumpkin. Note the text on the little white one (and squash). Totally didn’t see that.
What’s your favorite season? I find Winter-lovers interesting. I like Winter… for like a second.
Ahhh… I better crash.