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!
I initially started this blog because I got a story accepted at Black Heart Magazine, and they wanted you to have a website for your work. I figured it was best to start one up and start trying to be at least moderately professional about this. It’s possible that saying that automatically makes me unprofessional, but oh well.
This is my latest offering to the literary world. It’s a short story called DDR Master. I wrote it one winter while visiting my parents in upstate New York. Up there, the winters are so cold that it’s almost impossible to go outside, and the roads are too icy to walk on without risking your neck. I’m sure it’s totally doable for someone used to the climate and has appropriate shoes, but I’m not, and I don’t.
Because I couldn’t go outside much, I started playing a lot of DDR with my siblings in order to keep my limbs moving. The game was addictive, and I ended up playing it for hours every day. I started thinking about an emotional reason for someone to do that–mine was physical, and it wasn’t a very interesting story, but if DDR was filling a hole in someone’s soul, it could be.
This story was the result of that thought process. The unnamed main character’s entire life revolves around getting perfect scores on the Wii version of DDR. She has no friends, no family, nothing to occupy her time but the game. She had a boyfriend, but they recently broke up. The obsession with the game might be her way of dealing with losing him, but it might also be her general pattern of dealing with life.
This is a short story entitled Centipede Centipede Centipede. I wrote it for a creative writing class, where I had to churn out a short story in one week. I didn’t know what to write about, so I decided to do what everyone’s always telling me to do: write from life. It’s based heavily on my own experiences as a teenager visiting France with my grandparents. Like Roger Tannen in the story, my grandfather had Parkinson’s disease. The disease eventually robbed him of his ability to communicate, but for a long time, there were things he could say and ways he could express himself. This story is about a man trying to express himself in spite of his illness, through the eyes of a young girl who doesn’t fully understand what’s going on.