She Raises Me

A prose poem that I wrote for class:

Flirting with thirty from down the hall, barely grasping the scheme of it all, I pull my breaker tighter though the weather is nicer as she tugs on the strap of my baggage, slowing my pace. In a line, with no front and no end but I’m next, in the midst of a contest with no rest… I’ll sprint ’till my shins split and she knows this, believes this even as the tears streak. I’m crushed and ground, salt of the earth, weak. And she still sees the beauty in the beat and swollen me. Is certain that this hurt is only temporary… she tempers my tantrums on the contrary. One of the most beloved set loose from a luminous galaxy to find… me and to wind… me while the rest of this test worries into my vitality. I’m taller. But she’s bigger. I now read well. But she is the cover, my daughter, six and none the wiser that she’s wiser, a better mother to the child in me.

– B. Brown

(art courtesy of Pinterest)

First day subbing…

And they’re trying to figure out where to put me. All the subs came flocking to this school because they have teachers out for training.

I just want to get in a classroom already. This anticipation is killing me…

I’ve got a poem coming for ya’ll, that is, if I survive this day haha

While I’m here, does anyone have any new substitute tips for me? Bless ya girl with some wisdom.

– B. Brown

Today is the day…

I start my Poetry Fundamentals class. I’ve reviewed my readings (which is a crap ton of poems by poets with funny names) and my assignments: analyzing object and list poems and discussing them with my fellow classmates.

And I have two poems due by Sunday for my portfolio.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But I’m hell bent at becoming a refined poet so I’m hungry for this knowledge,

Ready for this challenge.

Alsooooooooo….

My first day of substituting is this Wednesday.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

But there’s this woman in my dreams who I aspire to be. She’s been teaching for years, has numerous publications under her belt and has a consisting posting schedule for her website.

These are just some of the steps I’m taking to get to her.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to feel like I’m in the right place at the right time with the right people.

I’m on my way.

– B. Brown

What I Learned in Boating School Today is: Literary Theory (Quick Read)

So I just finished up a course in Literary Theory and when I say this was my most difficult course by far, I mean it. No, really, this course had me questioning everything about my writing, my choice of authors, my purpose in life… my soul was wrung for every last drop of conviction it possessed.

But my turmoil wasn’t without reward.

I learned about the four major approaches to literary criticism:

Marxism, which is mainly looks for class struggle and social conflict in a text, and how it reflects history, Deconstruction, which loves to look for the pitfalls of language, laugh and throw it back in our faces in pieces, Feminism, which is exactly what it looks like (and damn, there’s a lot of it in classic texts) and my favorite, Psychoanalytic, formed from Freudian principles and supplemented with the ideas of Lacaniasm.

I don’t want to keep you long, seeing as though there’s a wealth of more entertaining things to read out there, but I want to just stress the importance of these theories really quick. I believe that as a writer, it would behoove you to do a bit of research on these to deepen your understanding of what makes for rich and timeless literature. If you know what the scholars look for, you’ll know what to deliver. The hardest part is figuring out how to deliver it and that’s where these theoretical approaches come in. As you all know, it’s crucial for us to read critically; the principles of these theories will help you do that. I can honestly say that the manuscript I’m currently drafting has gained a few more layers.

If you’d like me to do a mini series, diving deeper into these forms of critiques, let me know in the comments section. We’re all here to learn, grow and share and I’d love to hear your take on these critiques.

-B. Brown

Journal: Six Weeks Into My Master’s

So I’m six weeks into my master’s program and although it’s kicking my ass, I’m really happy I made this decision. After having more than a few months off from school, it was a bit of a struggle jumping back in, especially since I switched majors. I went from studyng Criminal Justice to English and let me tell you, the difference has been humbling. For whatever reason, CJ wasn’t challenging me. It may have something to do with watching crime documenteries since I was young, back when Investigation Discovery was CourtTV. Or that my grandfather is a retired CJ professor, who pretty much did every job in the system at one point or another. I don’t know everything there is to know about the discipline but it was like my brain was kicking back and relaxing because it was so easy for me. But my heart, that moody thing, it wasn’t satisfied. Halfway through my BA, I grew bored and began questioning my goals. What was I hoping to acheive with this degree? Maybe become a paralegal? A social worker? Dispatcher? Counselor? I didn’t know. And the fact that I didn’t know what beginning to weigh heavily on me. None of those positions appealed to me as they should have. I mean, maybe in the future, with a different mind set, they’ll be possibilities but at the moment, my heart has been demanding more of me, as cheesy as that sounds.

Which is why I’m here, stressing over a ten-page English paper that’s due in twelve days. I’ve been through the rubric, looked for resources and I’ve mapped out a general outline but I haven’t started yet. And I can hear that clock ticking ever so rudely. Nervous about writing? Who me?

Yes, damn it, because everything I’ve learned in this class so far has completely dismantled my way of thinking, my way of writing. In short, my whole life has been a lie! Okay, it’s not that deep but it might as well be because this class has me questioning every bit of writing I’ve ever done, including my first self-published book. It’s like my eyes have been yanked open, my skull unscrewed and my hands put on twenty-four-hour watch. This class looks at everything under a microscope and it’s unnerving but at the same time, I’m finally getting challenged. I just never knew learning to be so damn hard, sheesh.

But if I had to be honest with myself, I know it’s only hard because now it’s personal. It is my dream to become a successful author, see my name on a dozen spines, overhear people say, “Look! That’s the amazing, brave woman who wrote that one series that became a movie and rocked so hard it entered the hall of fame of literature. God, I can’t stop reading her work! (cries tears of joy).” And I’m all like, “Ermagerd, thanks! I love you so much! Here’s a free copy of my newest book! Want to have coffee?! Let’s go have coffee!(cries tears of joy).” I’m rambling… But that’s what I want. To fullfill my dreams and I know I can acheieve those things without having to go to school but I feel I kind of need to. I’ve been exposed to works, I never would’ve come across otherwise, that have effected me profoundly. My instructor is pushing me to dig deeper, asking me questions I never knew to ask myself. I’m learning to analyze and think critally of my own work for the best results.

I finally feel like I’m growing. I’m digging up my voice, refining my style and learning a helluva lot about the industry in the process. I feel like I’ve made a good decision, which isn’t something I feel a lot. These challenges are something else, I tell you. But if it wasn’t tough then I guess it wouldn’t be worth it. I’d be questioning my existence if it were. I knew that this would be life changing I guess it’s just finally hitting me.

If you’ve been wanting to go back to school for something really important to you, I suggest you do it and do it soon. Don’t let the fear of a challenge hold you back. There’s that whole matter of paying for school I know, but if there’s a strong will, there will be a way, there has to be. I just feel that life is too short to worry about the roadblocks. We owe it to ourselves to at least try, right?