It’s Important to Embrace Your Old Writing

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

The first thing I can remember writing was a short story. I was nine years old and in the fourth grade. I’d been a voracious reader for years already, so maybe it was natural I’d fall in love with writing too.

One day, my teacher gave us a creative writing assignment. It’s the first of its kind I was ever given. It was around Easter time, so that was our theme. It was only meant to be, at most, a page long.

I turned in five.

I don’t remember many details about the story, but I know it featured a magical Easter Bunny that was hopping around, granting people’s wishes, and creating all kinds of chaos. My teacher said it was really creative. She kept it for a while and after that, I’m not sure what happened to it.

I wish I’d asked for a copy. My first piece of genuine writing! It’d be so fun to re-read it and share it with my children.

Not much later, I wrote my first poem. I’d always had a rocky relationship with my parents, and once I hit double digits and got my period at 11 years old, things only got worse. I needed an outlet. Naturally, I turned to writing.

I titled the poem My Life is Not a Drag. I don’t remember anything about it but that. I wrote it to try to cheer myself up, listing things in my life I was thankful for, or that made me happy.

I do remember that I wrote a lot about my cats. And books, of course. I’m nothing if not a creature of habit.

I look back on my first forays into writing with nostalgia, but if I still had either of those pieces, chances are, they’d be objectively awful. What does a young child know about grammar, or how to write a good story or poem? Next to nothing. What I did know, though, was imagination and wonder.

And the all-consuming need to write down my thoughts.

Continue reading “It’s Important to Embrace Your Old Writing”

Vortices: A Haiku

The wind is being STUPID LOUD today, so I wrote a haiku about it.

there’s a man outside
screaming at the sky, dancing
vortices of wind

Is it normal to feel like you’re cheating on one blogging platform with another? I’ve been doing a lot of writing on Medium. I really like the community, and I’ve made it into their partner program, so now I’m monetized!

Yes, this absolutely is a plug to get you guys to check out my Medium profile. I’m not ashamed of myself at all.

If you like my writing, please consider subscribing with my referral link. It’s only $5 a month, you get to read as many things as you want, and I’ll get a portion of your membership fees!

Honestly, I’m not above begging.

Other ways to support me:

Pipe Dreams

Any other writers out there with dream projects building up in their minds but no confidence to actually write them, or are you normal?

I have one such project. It’s been eating me up inside for a while. I daydream about it all the time.

Everyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with Tudor history and literature. They also know I love ghost stories. It’s been my desire the last few months to write a ghost story wherein Henry VIII is being haunted by his ex-wives. I even have the opening scene mapped out: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are dancing in yellow, rejoicing that Katherine of Aragon has finally died, when Henry VIII feels like a cold hand has reached inside his chest and squeezed his heart. I even wrote a poem about it!

Ring around the banquet hall
in yellow silk a’twirl,
raise your hands, give up the call:
hurrah, the Queen is dead!

Yellow Silk by Cassandra Armstrong

When it comes to actually writing it, though? I freeze like a deer caught in headlights. I’m not at all confident in my ability to do it justice. Or in my ability to finish it if I do begin it.

Once, just once, I’d like my brain to operate as a normal brain, so I can Get Shit Done.

Other ways to support me:

October Art and Writing Challenge Wrap-Up

Though I didn’t share many of the haiku I wrote in October to WordPress, I still want to talk about the challenge, why I chose to do it, and what I got from it–the good and the bad.

I was stumbling around on Twitter and came across this post by Holly. On a whim, I decided to give it a try. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to 1) force myself to write and 2) practice my digital art skills. And it was a prompt list all about autumn and Halloween, two of my favorite things.

Why did I choose to write all haiku? Because I find haiku to be rather easy to write, and I’m good at them. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing long poems as it was my intention to finish a 31-day challenge in only 15 days. Because I’m extra af sometimes.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the challenge. And I like most of the poems I wrote for it, with notable favorites being Death and Witches. There were a few I felt were not my best work, especially towards the end of the challenge, but I’m proud nonetheless. I did finish the challenge, after all. It’s not very often I get to say that.

Endeavoring to write 31 poems in 15 days did what it was supposed to: it forced me to write. Multiple times per day, in fact. Which is somehow both a positive and negative thing. I definitely started feeling some burnout towards the end of the challenge. The last few poems felt like pulling teeth. I started to hate what I was writing and didn’t want to do it anymore. But I was determined to finish the challenge, so I made it easier on myself the only way I could: I stopped drawing illustrations for each poem and used stock photos to complement each piece. That helped a lot, and I was able to finish on a high note.

For the last poem, I chose to break away from the haiku format. It is, of course, titled Halloween. Enjoy!

Read the rest of the poems here or on my Instagram.

Beware:
when the nights grow chillier
and a red moon turns clouds into rivers of blood —
Hallowe’en is here.

Look:
the pumpkins put on smiles,
jagged teeth gnashing fire into pulp —
Hallowe’en is here.

Watch:
the witches take their vengeance to the sky
phoenixes risen from the ashes of their abusers —
Hallowe’en is here.

Listen:
to the breaths of ghosts on the wind,
the long-lost souls doomed to roam earth —
Hallowe’en is here.

Duck!
The bats in the belfry have awoken,
a black cloud that blots out the moon —
Hallowe’en is here.

Scream:
the doorbell is a too-normal sound
among all these phenomena.
Hallowe’en is here.

Smile:
at the painted faces of the children
dressed as ghouls and ghosts and gross things.
Hallowe’en is here.

Sink:
into warm blankets, autumn treats at hand,
and wait for the next round of haunts.
Hallowe’en is here.

Other ways to support me:

Macbeth Doth Come: A Poem

I press my hand to
black fur soft as
a newborn’s blanket.
I can feel his heart beating
beneath my fingertips,
and though he looks lifeless,
his chest rises and falls
as he inhales,
exhales.

Though there is pain in his eyes,
and though he is confused
and frightened,
I also see love and trust
shining in those green depths,
and I’m stricken by the breadth
of love
I feel for this four-legged angel.

Through the tears, I smile
and remember the first day I saw him,
so small and scared and lost.
And I have to laugh
because I never stood a chance;
I didn’t choose him,
he chose me.
I was his before I could ask
“Can we keep him?”

I was 17 years old when I came home from a walk with my friend and my mom told me she had found an orphaned, feral kitten in the garden. He was the cutest little thing, and so hungry and scared. We caught him and brought him inside — and that was it. He became mine. My angel. My Macbeth. ♥

Years ago now, Macbeth came down with a terrible urinary tract infection. He had crystals in his urine and was close to death. The vet was able to save him, though, and to this day, I can’t thank her enough for it. I wrote this poem in honor of that.

Today Macbeth is 14 years old and still my baby. He’s the best cat I’ve ever had and I love him to pieces.

If you like my writing, please consider donating to me at the link below. All proceeds will go towards furthering my career as a writer.

Other ways to support me:

Witches: A Haiku

gather my witches:
the women who burned at stake
for the sins of men

gather my witches
save them from the salt marshes
let their bones breathe free

gather, my witches,
let us ride out and show them
fire cannot break us

gather, my witches,
we are the phoenix, and they,
are nothing but ash

Find more autumn and Halloween-themed haiku on my Medium page. And if you like what you’ve read, please consider leaving a tip. All donations will be used for reading fees to poetry and lit magazines.

Other ways to support me:

Death: A Haiku

when I think of death
I don’t imagine Heaven,
pearly gates open wind

when I think of death
I see only a void, and
hear only silence

when I think of death
I wish I could believe God
waits with open arms

I am not a religious person but sometimes I wish I was. I think it can be a comfort to people in hard times.

Find more autumn and Halloween-themed haiku on my Medium page. And if you like what you’ve read, please consider leaving a tip. All donations will be used for reading fees to poetry and lit magazines.

Other ways to support me:

Black: A Haiku

black lacquer shimmers
I file my nails to deadly
points of gothic dread

I’ve mentioned a couple times I’m currently working on a series of haiku based on a list of autumn and Halloween-inspired art and writing prompts I found on Twitter. I’m a year and 25 days late to this challenge, but I’m hopeful I can finish it before the end of the month. With the holiday season fast approaching, I’ll be wanting to do focus on something else. Maybe even a winter and Christmas-themed series of haiku is in order.

If you’re interested in reading the other haiku in this series, please check out my Medium page.

The button at the bottom is of this post takes you to my shiny new Buy Me a Coffee page. Or, in my case, Buy Me a BOOK page. I’d greatly appreciate any tips, which will go towards reading fees for poetry and lit mags.

Other ways to support me: