Caution; Slippery Floor: A Poem

This is something fun I wrote last night. It was meant to be a serious poem but I lost focus halfway through and it became this. I feel it’s a perfect embodiment of ADHD.

Side note: Richard Siken is one of my favorite poets.

Richard Siken speaks often
of cutting off his head;
I think I might too.
Maybe I could trade it
for another,
try on new brains
like I try on clothes.
Who do I want to be
today?
Let’s see how neurotypical fits.
What is it like to not
be at war
with yourself?
To be able to hold
a thought;
mine are as slippery
as a Minnesota winter.

At least on the floor, my
brain can feed the rats; the
only thing it feeds me is
song lyrics on loop while
I forget, again, to call my
dentist, to pay overdue bills,
to take blood pressue meds–
oh, shit, I left the stove on.

The Forest: A Novel Teaser #2

In April, I talked about my writing goals. I’m happy to say, I’m doing fairly well on them. I’ve written about 1,000 words of my novel (it may not sound like much, but as I’m a slow writer, I think I’m doing fairly well!), and I’ve written a couple new poems. I’ve also been more active on this website. It wasn’t a goal to be, but it’s an achievement I’m proud of anyway.

It’s been almost a year since I shared the first teaser of my novel, The Forest, which is about a young girl who wishes herself into a fairy tale and gets trapped.

Please enjoy this short preview of my novel.

“There’s magic in the world, Gwen,” Papa said, his one hand gesturing towards the open window.

Gwen rushed to see. She wasn’t sure what she expected, but it certainly wasn’t the same, tired scene: The outhouse hidden between two evergreens; the dilapidated truck with the wheels missing and the front fender dented in; the chickens pecking their way across the grass, heckling each other for food. She turned back to Papa with a disgruntled sigh. “Those are just chickens, Papa.”

He laughed. “Well, of course it’s not going to show itself in broad daylight!” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “It’s afraid.”

“Why, Papa?”

Papa patted his knee. “Come here, child.” Gwen took one last look out the window, searching for a quick glimpse of magic hiding in the shadows, or perhaps sitting in her Papa’s old, rusty truck, before running over to climb into Papa’s lap, eager for another of his stories. “Magic is afraid of people.”

“Like you and me and mama?”

Papa pinched her cheek. “Exactly so. When people first came to the world, they were mean to magic. Fairies had their wings cut off. Dragons were put to the sword. So many witches burned at the stake; the sky was black with smoke for an age.”

Gwen felt tears stinging in her eyes. “Why, Papa? Why were people so mean?”

“Because people kill what they can’t understand.”

Traffic Line Romance: A Poem

I was going through my poems and separating things into various folders (I’m stupidly organized in ways that don’t matter), when I came across this gem. I wrote it over a decade ago and still love it. How many writers can say that about their old writing?

A drop falls
and then another.
Falling, falling
across the yellow traffic line.
The ripples slowly
spread outward
like fingers
seeking, seeking
the touch of another.

ADHD & Writing I

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was four years old. Now they typically wait to diagnose children until they’re school age, but in the early ’90s, early diagnoses seemed to be the norm. I definitely had the hyperactivity aspect of it down pat, at least. They were right, though. I’ll turn thirty-one this June and, though I’m not as hyperactive as I used to be, I certainly suffer from many of the other symptoms of ADHD.

  • I stim.
  • I often daydream.
  • I’m anxious about everything and have unexplained mood swings.
  • I suffer from rejection sensitive dysphoria.

The list goes on and on.

My parents told me about my diagnosis when I was in middle school. I don’t know why they waited until then. My dad never wanted me to be medicated, so I’ve been flying solo my whole life. Now it’s just something I’ve learned to live with. I do often wonder what life would be like if I had been medicated. What could my life be like now if I hadn’t had to fight against my own brain for so long?

If I wasn’t still fighting against it every day?

I know I could seek medication and therapy if I wanted to, but growing up with my dad’s aversion to medicine has rubbed off on me. I won’t even take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a headache unless it’s really bad.

I’m an old geezer and I’m stuck in my ways.

As a teenager and young adult, I never paid any attention to my diagnosis. It wasn’t “a big deal.” It’s only been within the last couple years that I’ve been interested in learning more about ADHD, and I’ve started to be move vocal about my neurodivergence.

Growing up, I thought I was just weird, and I never wanted to speak out about some of the things I did or thought or felt–I was afraid of being judged. Now, I’m not so afraid. Hence, this post, and any subsequent ones that come along.

“ADHD & Writing” will be a short series about what I’ve learned about ADHD and how it’s affected my life. It’s had an especially large impact on my motivation, which is probably why I’m pushing thirty-one and only seriously pursuing a career in writing now. I’m only just beginning to realize how much of my life ADHD has stolen from me, and, honestly, I’m a little offended.

Writing Goals

It’s no secret that the biggest roadblock along my path to success is my lack of self-motivation. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD team up to make sure I rarely have any. Anything I manage to create is done so whenever the fog of mental illness dissipates enough for me to see a little sunshine through the clouds.

I keep trying, though, and for that, I applaud myself. It’d be all too easy to give up for good. But I won’t. Though writing is hard, unbelievably hard some days, it’s still something I love to do, and I think I’d go crazy if I couldn’t write.

I have a couple of writing goals I’d like to accomplish this year. I’m going to record them here for some accountability. By the end of 2021, I would like to have at least 15,000 words of my novel written. I would also like to have my poetry chapbook ready for publication. I plan to go the traditional route first. If that doesn’t pan out, I will consider self-publication.

I’m both excited and not. It’s going to take a lot of work. Depression is telling me I’ll never be able to do it, and anxiety is telling me even if I did manage to finish my chapbook, no one would want to publish it. I wish there was a way to make them shut up forever.

All I can do is try my best. Onward!

A Day in the Life of Henry VIII: A Poem

Na/GloPoWriMo has come out with some interesting prompts these past few days. Yesterday’s prompt to write from the perspective of the dead had me writing about Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Today’s prompt to write the to-do list of an unusual person or character birthed a Shakespearean sonnet about King Henry VIII.

See below for a short preview.

A Day in the Life of Henry VIII


Whether by ties or death should he sever
them from this most sacred and solemn vow,
he can be assured of his rightful choice
and take such succor as offered him now,
be it food or skin above a rich bodice!
Whoever she be, shall she be my queen
or be hanged for failure to make a king?

To Tell a Fib

I’ve been very casually keeping track of what’s going on over at Na/GloPoWriMo. I haven’t written every day, and what I have written has been off-prompt. I liked today’s prompt, though, which was to write a Shadorma or a Fib. Each are six-line poems with specific syllable counts. The Shadorma syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5, while the Fib’s syllable count is 1/1/2/3/5/8.

I, naturally, chose what felt like the harder of the two. I like to challenge myself this way; it makes me more conscientious of the language I use, and I think, by doing so, I write better poetry.

Here’s my contribution for today:

opera games

an
act
two-faced
masquerades
or opera games
a riddle behind ivory
peel away the venetian lace
you still won’t see me
I’m hidden
by more
than
masks

Getting Back on the Horse

I feel I should apologize for my sudden absence but doing so sounds exhausting. So, I’m going to spare myself that hassle and just say: I’m back!

Some explanation is in order, though. Mid-September of last year, I descended into a sudden depressive episode. I’ll spare you the details, but essentially, it killed all desire to do anything but read and play video games. It’s taken me this long to feel marginally okay again.

It’s really disheartening how mental illness can be a roadblock to success. I was feeling super excited about all kinds of prospects last August. I was writing, a couple of my poems were accepted for publication, and I was trying to get an editing business up and running.

In what felt like one day, it all unraveled. I didn’t want to write anymore. I lost all confidence in the quality of what I had already written and felt like nothing I might write in the future would be good. I even gave up on the editing gig. It didn’t take off, anyway, which felt like a swift nail in the coffin of my dream of being an editor.

In short, I felt hopeless and like I wasn’t good enough, wouldn’t ever be good enough, so why bother trying?

I’ve been telling myself that for most of my life. Boy, I’m really tired of me.

With the turn of the weather, I’ve felt much better. I’ve started writing again! I even submitted a couple of pieces for publication. Keep your fingers crossed for good news!

As for the editing gig…it’s still something I’d like to do and think I’d be good at. I realize now it’s a hard field to break into, though, and I’m wondering if perhaps I was too ambitious to think I could crack it, at least in such a short time frame. I’ll need to think on it more and do some research.

I feel more like myself again–it’s good to be back. And this time, I hope to stay for a long, long time.

Donald Trump’s Titanic: A Poem

I wrote a poem called Donald Trump’s Titanic which was recently accepted for publication in the online literary collective Writers Resist. Please give it a read, and of course, I would love to hear your thoughts!

See below for a short preview.

The world today
is like watching a shipwreck in slow motion.

Donald Trump
is the iceberg, and America is
the Titanic. We laughed
about being able to smell ice
when it’s near—

Iceberg, right ahead!
We elected him anyway.