Writing Advice and Samples

A compilation of essay tips, general writing advice, poems, and thoughts.

Month: February, 2019

Balance.

Raining Weather Rain Water Nature Raindrops Wet

I live the same day twice,
Then thrice,
Then a hundred times or more.
Repetitive like the thoughts inside
My duplicated mind.
I’m morphing reality
Through selective memory.
Only I choose what remains.
Perhaps there’s no choice at all,
For if I could paint my past to life
I would not appoint you.
I hear you despite consonance,
Echoes of trauma
Screaming through these halls
Through time and space.
You find me not for love,
But for control.
Turn off the lights,
The lights,
It’s always the lights.
Are you afraid of the dark my dear?
Each time I cry,
I hear a disapproving groan.
The shaking of your head
Against my pain,
While I seek comfort
And find a clenched fist.
I’ll give you something to cry about.

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Gradual.

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My eyes scream while I crave silence. Audible solitude hides behind whispers of wind. Shuffling papers and grocery bags. Dishes clanking in the kitchen sink. The noise grows gradually like the changes in my perspective. Understated elegance melts within the endless chatter of daily life. The world is so loud and I can’t tune it out. I can’t hear my thoughts over your demanding company. It’s easy to find peace in a beautiful place but my mind clashes with chaos and I cannot find beauty within. Each word alone is overrated. Put them together and they’re trying too hard. Quiet. Serene. Noisy. Unseen. I’d rather not live inside your mess.

Ideas.

Reaching out

CC image courtesy of andrew and hobbes on Flickr.

I don’t know where you come from or why you evade me when I need you most. I seek your presence and you wither in my hands. Robust potential reduced to half a thought and plagued by the expectation of productivity. My effort scares you off like the fading walls of my lucid dreams. Your world collapses. Mine follows. You are genuinely contrived and full of forced honesty. You are three lousy sentences in a book I’ll never write. I’m sorry for dismissing you during life’s inconvenient moments. Sometimes I wonder if my words are a cage because you only show up when there’s no threat of capture.

Restless.

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I’m surrounded by lost stories
Pieces of people never perceived
Extraordinary thoughts minimized
By average minds
And brilliant minds the same
Through fear
Or patience
Or unjustified acceptance
I mourn my own memories
While I remember remembering
With haphazard value
From fragment to sequence
The pressure of capturing perfection
And flaws simultaneously
Renders me speechless
While a story hides
Under the disguise of intention
Selective silence
Breathes within an unspoken word
My mind grows restless
Between explaining my absence
And justifying my presence
I am exhausted by the balance
As I create copies of myself
And move forward
With the past in my notebook

Eight.

It’s my sophomore year of high school. I’m new again, which should indicate a chance to start fresh, but there’s nothing fresh about my recurring story. I cannot escape the unwavering inadequacy wrapped tightly around my existence. Fear fuels every movement: crossing borders, running toward uncertainty. I’m merely a passenger.

A continual lack of normalcy follows me forward. I cry each night for the neglect of home, tortured by the burden of past. I see a country abandoned by unworthy citizens. I feel my sense of inclusion slip further away with the loss of each day.

Two boys approach me during gym class in my first week of school. I am staring into an oblivious and friendless void, so I don’t notice them until they speak.

“We rated every girl in this room.”

“Okay,” I reply, still looking aimlessly forward.

“Do you want to know what you got?”

“No, please don’t.”

“You’re an eight,” they say before walking away.

My existence is reduced to an arbitrary number. My inner worth and struggles are obscured. I sink deeper into self.

Rejection.

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A phone rings in an empty room
Quiet faces mask discomfort
In the realm of unread emails
And deleted voicemails
And automated replies
I seek truth and find untapped potential
And you
Shaking under superficial sighs
Hiding behind a faded voice
Somewhere between condescending notes
Played off-key
I’m not waiting for approval
Or demanding unauthorized attention
In this life unfit for consumption
The door creaks with a hint of invitation
Pressed against my deflective presence
And by the wind
Slams shut upon arrival

Both.

Low Tide Beach Ocean Cave Wales England

Bravery or weakness? I’ve carved out every cavern of my mind and I still can’t make an honest distinction. Tragedy turned commodity. False intimacy intertwined with painful recollections. We cannot bond over a disparate past. I care about your story, but please don’t make this a competition. I’m not here to buckle under your self-appointed authority. I know my view is tainted by my eyes. I can’t see without glasses.

Ownership is senseless. I’m just playing the normalcy game. I took a sociology class in college once. The professor assigned a volunteer assignment at a food bank to help us understand poverty. I liked that she could never tell I’ve been hungry before.

There’s elegance in accepting your position. It’s bold to be happy despite. But it’s demoralizing and awkward to constantly feel out of place. I’m not better for it, and I know suffering is relative. I cleanse my memory and divulge a small piece of my truth. I’m chipping away at my story.

Letter.

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I trace my freckles from skin to air. I do not need permission to take up this space. Imprecise yet somehow rigid, I stand. Careless. Unapologetic. Credible in my convictions. I know your misery is not mine to carry.

Your hovering presence fades as I place you in the past to mingle with your unwarranted presumptions. I rest my expectations. I let you settle into a flawed perspective with the understanding that it is not my job to fix you. Your unfair judgments do not intimidate or render me unreliable. Nice try, though.

I’m an untouched letter on the counter, perfectly written but never read. A folded burden, somehow forbidden. Do you think words care if they go unseen? Do your eyes somehow validate their existence? Does your aversion make this paragraph weep? We are both unbothered now that you’re contained inside these words. Goodbye.

Retrospect.

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I am a regrettable 14. I am worried about my frizzy hair and my overgrown brows and my elf ears and my tiny baby toenails. I am not an elegant person. I tuck mints into my backpack before school, hoping that another girl will notice that her breath smells right before talking to her crush and she’ll lean over and ask if I have a mint and I’ll say yes I do while handing her a mint and she’ll say you’re a lifesaver and we will become best friends. Teenage worries cover the complexity of my story. I can’t put the pieces together here or now, so I go through each day as it comes and file the evidence away for future use.

Free.

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I’m going to write whatever comes to mind without filtering out any ideas. It’s scary to create without erasing or editing, but freewriting is a great strategy for overcoming writer’s block. So, here’s what’s happening inside my mind:

Placated. Relief and second chances. I am surrounded by my own reflection. Natural rhythm. The flow of endless thought. I want my mind to pause by happenstance. I want to meet the nonsense I’ve been missing all along. Connection. I fear your eyes to the extent of interruption. The noncommittal nature of our undisclosed arrangement. I lend you pieces of me. Memory. Short bursts of consciousness between noisy excuses. I tell myself, tomorrow. Searching for an elusive accomplishment to fill in the missing fragments. My story is not sequential. There is no lesson in the pain of loss and discovery unless I place it there. Delicately. Deliberately. Write to soothe the agony of existence. Gasp for air while bystanders breathe freely. Why is she suffocating? It’s so easy to be free.