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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mountains Out of Molehills

there in the distance
hazy peak reaching for blue
my mountain to climb

journey forward and
up a jagged precipice
my fingers bloodied

determination
I will not be left to rot
upon this dark rock

this mountain, though of
my own creation, will not
be my final death

It’s been an odd handful of days for me. I’ve been laser-focused on writing, blogging, and trying to think of ways to further my success. It’s still my dream to someday be able to make a living off my writing. I’m not sure where this burst of motivation came from, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Over the past year or so, my confidence in my writing ability has grown tenfold. I used to be someone who hated everything I wrote and always struggled to share it with the world. I read my writing now and I don’t immediately cringe doing so. There have been a few pieces I’ve liked enough to want to submit them–and was successful doing so. Maybe this is a sign of maturity, or maybe my friend Katie Staten, with her constant support, has finally convinced me I’m not a terrible writer.

I wrote this connected series of haiku when I was in a really dark place. I was considering giving up writing for good. I thought I’d never accomplish anything with it. I knew, though, if I did, I’d be unhappy for the rest of my life. Hard as it may be, I love writing, and without the release it provides, I’d probably go insane. So I wrote this poem to remind myself that, though the going may be tough, the end of the journey is always worth it. So like the little engine that could, I just keep chugging along. I’ve got a long way to go yet but, right now, it feels doable.

If you’d like to read more of my poetry, stop by my Medium page. I’ve been working on a series of autumn and Halloween-inspired haiku that are, in my not-so-humble opinion, cute and a lot of fun. I hope to see you there!

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It Came! It Finally Came!

I was so happy to receive my contributor’s copy of the Inaugural Edition of Copperfield Review Quarterly. After all, I was a contributor! I never dreamed I’d attempt to write a Shakespearean sonnet about Henry VIII, much less that it would be published in such an esteemed literary journal of historical fiction and poetry.

I would like to thank the editor of CRQ, Meredith Allard, for this amazing honor.

I’m proud to finally share with everyone A Day in the Life of Henry VIII. Such an infamous monarch’s daily to-do list couldn’t possibly contain such mundane things as cleaning and errands. In this sonnet, Henry VIII takes it upon himself to change his marriage, the church, and God Himself, all in the pursuit of securing his progeny.

The image of God in his ire does speak
that a more painful hell than this awaits.
But I am King and this one change I seek:
‘tis my desire and creed which should dictate
the right of man to set aside his wife
who through devilry and spite does founder
to achieve her purpose to create life;
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?

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Here Comes the Bride

I married my significant other of nine years yesterday! Honestly, it was about time. It was a simple ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace, but I got to marry the man I love in front of all my friends and family, so it was simply perfect.

In honor of my nuptials, I want to share a poem I wrote about us a few years ago.

Units of Measurement

How do you measure a relationship?
In years?
We’ve lasted four.
I’d try to get it down to the second,
but I’m bad at math.

Anyway,
I think I’d rather measure ours
in moments:

Like the first night we spent together
and stayed up until 3am talking
about…you know, I’ve forgotten,
but the sound of your voice
was a roll of thunder over my skin,
and, oh, how I wished your fingers had chased the sounds.

We were so silly
the day we decided to move in together
as a solution to our first real argument.
But I was frustrated–I missed you,
and you, you won’t admit it,
but you missed me too,
and even though it was stupid,
it worked out all right in the end.

I remember the night I came home
from visiting my parents
and you said my new hair color was beautiful
and we tumbled into bed together
and some months and days later
we named our son after your grandfather.

It’s weird, isn’t it,
that buying a house together was scarier
than those 16 hours of pain.

A lot can happen in four years.
I’m curious to see what the next
three years will bring–
maybe a daughter?

We did get our daughter, by the way. She has her father’s eyes. ♥

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Joker’s Right: A Poem

Bringing it back to a time when I thought I was clever–and could actually rhyme!

Though I fancied myself as a rather mysterious person, multiple people told me they could “read me like an open book.” I didn’t like that, so this was my response to them.

In hindsight, I probably wasn’t as mysterious as I pretended to be.

Complicated beyond comprehension,
but what’s to comprehend
when it’s all a game?
I like to play pretend.
A bag of tricks
and some joker’s quick wit
brings the crowd their kicks.
Now it’s the clown being played,
though I’d gladly condescend to claim
you know the face behind the name.

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