5:51PM - Writing Contest
today the winners of The City Paper’s writing contest were revealed, exposed, exploited, whatever you want to call it. for the first time they picked something good.
i entered some poetry a few years ago and got null (i’m not bitter). the thing with “contests” is that even when it’s a popular alternative newspaper, there are always these generic works that “win” and appeal to a very narrow, very obsolete audience. this time i was impressed, especially by the poetry “winner”. that along with the prose entry were engaging and have stayed with me, and they both ended horribly, almost shockingly. i was very amused.
i’m so glad my readers block is gone. i am engulfed in this Blinded by the Right book and i feel like a strumpet when i read something that is not the book i am focused on. this won’t last long, i’m sure to read about 3 more books before i run out of gas to concentrate. i am so all over the place with the guitar and the painting and dance and now, (again) writing. my poetry is exploding. i feel as though i have transcended or something. i’ve been thinking of re-starting (again) The Novel i’ll probably be working on for the rest of my life. attached is an exerpt.
writing has always been my nemesis and my true love. i am a great capricornian thinker and i live in my head all day so writing is the absolute release. i have journals and journals full of crap, okay stuff, thomas jeffersonian lists and calculations, pathetic poetry, momentous events, and true gems. i’ve been reading so much lately and i always get a little bit better after i read something that truly inspires. i’ve picked up so much from my favorite authors: using parenthesis to set-off witty, subliminal asides (Erica Jong), having an impeccable sense of feminine passion (John Updike), erratic punctuation and repetitive use of my favorite words (Emily Dickinson), exhausting complete thought run-on sentences and starting a paragraph right in the middle of a thought (Bret Easton Ellis), phonetic spelling to satirically exaggerate personality (Moliere), an apt for setting a scene with insults and natural, unforced dialogue (Candace Bushnell), connecting separate words allintoone to enhance rhythm, and using unorthodox capitalization (e.e. cummings), pure, unadulterated sarcasm (Oscar Wilde).
i don’t have the attention span or the time or the confidence in my writing to go in and get something out of me that i know is waiting to come out. and people would read my work because it’s honest and real and fucking funny (when i want it to be). i’ve been so spoiled with this livejournal. it’s not that i get to exhibit my exhibitionistic side so much (well, i do), but i use lowercase all the time and when i really write, it becomes an issue. but it’s a statement. it’s a statement.
jamie told me last night that i write “amazing poems”. i do everyonceandawhile. it’s a numbers game. i do take pride in my songs which are basically lyrical poetry. “there is no difference”, she said.
( More Fucking Poetry, I swear this is good stuff this time )
this sad peninsula
North and South
two different cities
just the same
a heavy burden:
the bond with each our own Metropolis
a common language
accented with different accents
warehouses adjacent to New York
farmland parallel to Philadelphia
the armpit called Atlantic City
by and by
when i take the train
i feel i should have a visa
because i am going to a different world
Your toxic blood,
My contagious insanity,
They should mesh somehow
But are torn apart by polarity.
Sickness is the sin-
The chasm between us.
We take our pills,
In vitality we trust.
The diseases we succomb to
Repel and disconnect.
We are quarantined,
Never to intersect.
Your cocktail nausea,
My suicidal tendencies,
Symptoms we don’t live without.
We’re broken peephole locks-
With skeleton-in-the-closet keys.
my guitar whispered to me
from across the room
she asked if i could make her sing
why do we both have to be lonely
she interrogated me
i tried to explain
(she’s jealous of my other artistic vices, i think)
the reason for my excuses
the horrendous hesitation
devoid of chemicals
that make me believe
that untaught me
and make me (feel) free
so i picked at her with my fingers
and together we hummed a solemn tune
and together we filled the empty
and together we filled the doom.
if the little spider
that scampered across my desk
was really a little spy
a god or goddess incarnate
keeping all it’s little eyes on me
for a little moment
if anyone is watching over
or under me
this little life
reminded me of the little things
the mysterious nose bleed
trickle of blood.
where did you come from?
deep within my venacava?
a large artery overfull with plasma?
did my heart mummur or mispalpitate
sending a rush of crimson liquid down my nose?
is there something wrong
deep inside my anatomy?
was it something i did or didn’t do?
what’s wrong with you
my mysterious body of mine?
Minus one of my grade school teachers, everyone of them knew I was going to be a writer. They never bothered to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. They knew. I always had the most profound little stories to read from my journals, I would have detailed little written presentations at show-and-tell and I loved to read aloud in class. “You’re going to be a great writer” replaced “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.
Before I could learn to read or write, I wanted to so badly. I would beg my sister to teach me everything she learned in school everyday. I would scribble on a piece of paper, hoping that maybe a letter was formed here or there. I made a few e’s, but it wasn’t until years later that I had the whole alphabet under my belt.
I wrote letters to friends and family. Simple letters written only for the pleasure of writing. My handwriting was bold and dark, and I was infamous for always being up at the pencil sharpener during class. I was so eager to get out every word, to make every thought prominent, I would break the point off of the pencil, watching the graphite crumble into little microscopic granules, that little “snap” of a freshly sharpened number 2 pencil over and over again under the relentless strain of my wrist and fingers.
One of the most heartbreaking days of my life was when I was in second grade. We had to write a story every night in our journal, and then the next day volunteers would read aloud their stories. One day, right in the middle of reading a story from my journal, I vomited all over it and my favorite book, and I sat there in agony having lost what meant so much to me.
The next day I refused to stay home from school despite my illness and I read aloud a wonderful story in a fresh new journal. It was half fiction, half not, an adaptation of the old Boy Who Cried Wolf story. It was about a boy who saw a fox on the way to the bus stop one day and was too scared to continue. He went back home and made up a story about being sick so he wouldn’t have to say anything about the fox (he was scared that no one would believe him because of the boy who cried wolf). So no one believed that he was sick and he got a ride to school. On the way there his mother almost ran the fox over as it crossed the street. The little boy said nothing. When he got to school he threw up in class and went home for the rest of the day. My teacher couldn’t stop praising me. I got a perfect attendance award that year.
Every year I got more and more involved with my writing. I would long for writing projects where I could envelope myself in my imagination. I was horrible at math so my grades in reading and writing usually made up for them. When I got to junior high, it became even more of an obsession. I was now writing reports and papers and summaries, oh my! Group projects were led by me. Teachers would leave long, detailed notes about my great writing style and how devoted I was to it. In high school my papers became famous even more and I started winning prizes for competitions and everyone told me what a great writer I was going to become. Except Mrs. Gold.
Mrs. Gold was my Honors English teacher sophomore year of high school. She was a feminist who strived to make her male students feel like incompetent wastes of flesh. She hardly let us speak in class, only calling on us when she had a trick question to ask about Greek Tragedy or some other open-to-interpretation ideal that we were learning about. I got a C in her class. She was one of the most un-inspiring teachers I have ever had. I was so spoiled by my English teachers in the past that I expected her to continue the tradition of pumping my ego, but instead, she would return my papers full of blood red pen marks, the margins full of nasty little notes like “this is convoluted”, “poor word choice”, “needs elaboration”, “did you research this?”. The bitch.
When I got to college I only wrote when I was interested in what I was learning about in class. My research projects would flourish with pretentious language, I was in college wasn’t I? But I was faced with another feminist teacher who picked up where Mrs. Gold left off. She inspired me to become a better writer and to keep the big words out of my papers. She was very stern and inspiring and made me realize what Mrs. Gold was trying to do to me. She loved my spirit and my knack for writing, but I was sadly misguided. One day while I was waiting for her in her office, I read all these horrible, bland papers that were marked “excellent!”, “this is great work!”, “wonderful job!”. I was disgusted but I knew that it was the negative reinforcement that would make me a better writer and that those students were so hopeless that trying to reinforce them to improve their skills would be a huge waste of time.
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