Recently I took a job as a high school English teacher.
It sounds like the perfect job to support one’s personal writing, because of all the time off–but it isn’t. Most of that time off is eaten up by grading, planning, and dealing with administration and parents. So this job has been eating up most of my spare time. Getting the Masters that led to this job has been similarly time-consuming.
This is why I haven’t really been updating here, or doing nearly as much personal writing as I would like to. I’m told that it gets easier to manage your time once you’ve been teaching for a while, and that many people are able to write on the side,but so far I haven’t seen the light at the end of that particular tunnel.
What I’ve been doing instead of writing fiction is trying my hand at poetry. While poetry is certainly difficult, it is less time-consuming to complete a finished poem than it is to complete a finished short story, and certainly to complete a novel. There are fewer words involved, and the attention to how those words sound and play off each other is important in both. I’m still not writing as much as I’d like to be, but unfortunately right now teaching needs to be my priority.
Poetry has resulted in a few dents in my publication hard hat, though!
Recently 1 over the 8 published two of my poems, Ecosystem Engineers and Like This, last month. EE is vaguely about a long-term, former relationship (I know I know) and Like This is about catastrophic thinking and anxiety. 1 over the 8 is a great publication that I’m proud to be a part of. They don’t just publish poems in English, they also publish them in Macedonian, Bengali, Danish, and more. Plus, they publish your work as soon as it’s accepted, since they don’t have “issues”, they have an ever-growing repository of good poems. They also got back to me almost immediately after I submitted, which is wonderful.
That’s not all though! I woke up this morning to a message from The Hopper Review, a new publication set to launch sometime this September. My poem, Cityscape, is going to be part of their inaugural issue. It’s about the NYC subway, which, as a lifelong New Yorker, is the backdrop of my existence. I’ve been shopping the poem around for a while now, and I’m so happy that it’s finally found a good home. I’m also very excited to see what else is in the first issue.
Well, back to lesson planning (and hopefully a little more writing). Have a great week everybody!
Recently, I’ve been really interested in writing haiku.
This interest started when the lovely Black Heart Magazine had a haiku contest. I wanted to enter, but I simply couldn’t justify spending $5 to submit just one haiku, especially when I was new to the art form. By the time I realized that it was $5 per haiku instead of $5 per person submitting, I’d already filled a few pages in my notebook. I was disappointed not to be able to enter, but that didn’t put a damper on my new found enthusiasm.
Haiku are perfect for me at this point in my life. I’m a graduate student in the middle of her student teaching. It’s hard to find time to work on my long-term projects. Haiku provides a quick, uncomplicated template with which I can finish something in a short period of time. While none of these haiku are masterworks, many of them are surprisingly decent. Writing them gives me an injection of that beautiful, illusory feeling–the one where I’m a real writer who actually writes things. In some ways, writing haiku may actually be a bad thing, as it distracts from what I consider to be my real work. I’m a prose person, not a poet…person.
Regardless, it’s a lot of fun. I decided to make a Twitter to showcase my experiments. It’s called Fistful of Tea, and you should follow it. So far, there’s no real theme. Here are some examples.
/ Your first steps on Skype / and your first words recorded. / Sister, I miss you. /
/ what if i just said / the word butts repeatedly / what would you do, then? /
/ Staten Island is / full of misery / and stray, inbred cats. /
/ Fuck you, new printer. / Why do you not come with a / USB cable? /
As you can see, it’s all really profound and fascinating. I’m adding new ones every day, and I may expand into other short poetry forms if I can figure out how to count to numbers other than five and seven. Check it out!