Painted Faces

Among the many other things I have been up to this semester, I have been a part of the spring drama team here at my college. Our performances began last week, but our dress rehearsals started even before that. I have never been one to be particularly fond of make-up, and I despise hairspray, so my experience as part of the play cast has been very interesting. While thinking about this (a.k.a. dreading the make-up and hair-fixing part of this shindig), I also began to think about how I have tried, for so long, to be someone I am not. This was on the same day that I wrote “The Murder” so you can probably see the similarities in the poem in this post.

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Painted Faces

In crowded halls and city streets,
In town and country fair,
If you look, you’ll surely find
A crowd of actors there.

With mended hair and made-up face,
In colors of every hue,
A million lives, a million lies
Are now set up to view.

Their words rehearsed, their moves direct,
As though followed from a script,
And secret lives are hid inside
As though stashed within a crypt.

But if you look, you’ll no doubt see
The hints, still there but faint.
Just watch for secret moments;
You’ll see the soul behind the paint.

The Murder

It was my plan at one point to become a high school teacher, primarily because I have never believed that my dream of being a writer could ever be a reality. But being here in college, here with incredible, supportive professors and friends, I have come to the point where I have actually started believing that my dream could be a reality. But I have also learned something else, and this reality has struck me very hard within the past week. I have realized that, for many years, I have been trying to turn myself into someone I’m not, never believing that the real me could ever be accepted…by anyone. I have always believed that my dreams must always stay dreams and that the real me is someone only I can appreciate, someone who must stay behind closed doors, hidden from public view. I was really reflecting on this problem this afternoon, which, in turn, inspired this new poem. I haven’t quite figured everything out, and changing my behavior, learning to love and appreciate who I really am, will take time, but I know now that, at least, I need to start letting the real me shine. And while I’m working on that, I hope you enjoy this poem.

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The Murder

I have a secret I’ll never tell;
A secret sin, I know it well.
With ebbing life and crimson flow,
With painful death, I surely know,
My only victim you will find:
A girl of strength of heart and mind,
A girl of laughter, a girl with fears,
One who smiles despite her tears.
What makes her special I dare not know.
I resolve to kill her so she won’t grow.
I fear her laughter, I fear her pain;
I fear to know what people say;
What they might say if they saw her true,
I fear to know what they would do.
And so I kill her so they won’t see
The girl that lives inside of me.
I fear to let the real Me shine,
Yet still for her I yet will pine.
I’ve caged her up, I’ve gagged her face;
I’ve starved her soul, I’ve murdered her grace.
I’ve done all that I know I can
To hide her from the world of man,
Hoping that I never will see
The day when someone rejects Me.

Sitting on the Writer’s Block

You’ve probably been there before. You’re sitting there, glassy-eyed, staring off into space wondering where your brain went. And no, I’m not talking about Algebra class. It’s writer’s block. Even now, as I desperately try to tap out a sensible and relatively interesting message, I feel that dreaded shadow of lost creativity staring over my shoulder.

If you haven’t experienced writer’s block, I dare say you haven’t written enough. Either that, or you’re a muse, in which case I’m afraid this is not the blog post for you. But if you are a mere mortal like myself, I’m sure you’ve had to face this dilemma.

Dealing with writer’s block is hard, because no matter how hard I try, inspiration just doesn’t come to me. And when facing a lot of pages and a deadline, the problem is even worse.

The topic has come up several times in my Narrative Writing class, as several of the people in that class are relatively new to writing and greatly struggle with figuring out where to go next. Most writers will tell you, “Just move on to something else,” or “Just keep writing.” So, for the sake of saying it, I’m gonna put in my two-cents worth as well. My method is a mixture of the two I previously mentioned. My suggestion? Just sit on it.

My teacher calls it “butt power”. When no amount of pushing, shoving, and pick-axe wielding can get rid of that annoying writer’s block, sit on it. For me, this means sitting down, staring glassy-eyed at the project for a few minutes (or hours), then picking up my pen (or putting fingers to keyboard) and writing. It doesn’t have to be coherent; it doesn’t have to be interesting. It just has to be something. But sometimes, simply writing won’t take you anywhere. In times like these, I have to get even more drastic (or should I say desperate?). If it’s an academic paper, I’ll write bullet points of information that might need to go in the actual piece. If it’s my own creative writing, I might write a scene or a character profile. The fact is, I’m writing. Essentially, I’m “sitting” on my writer’s block. What I mean by that is, I don’t let it get in my way. When I can’t move it, I use it for something else.

So next time you encounter writer’s block, try sitting on it. If it boils down to you and a hundred separately-written scenes, lace the good ones together, and tuck the others in a file box. Chances are, you’ll have overcome writer’s block by then. But, if not, at least you have something to go on.