Thoughts on

The other day I was walking the Red Bank Battlefield and this little girl came up to me and smiled. Then she started waving at me. I did what anyone would do; I ran away.

No, I’m kidding. I waved back.

I wanted to run because children scare the crap out of me. I didn’t realize why until yesterday.

Children, like animals, see things I don’t see.

Therefore, I think I should pay more attention to what our children are saying and doing.

My nephew, who is about to be three in November, is a prime example. When I come over, he tells me to sit. I do. Then he grabs a book and starts asking me what everything in the book is and I tell him. He doesn’t know I’m stressed. He doesn’t know I need a distraction from my adult life; he wants me to simply sit and teach him. He wants to just be around me because he sees something in me I don’t see.

That little girl who waved at me? She didn’t know I was thinking about the news I read minutes before I started walking. She didn’t know I was thinking about how funny life is and how crazy death can be. She had no idea I was thinking about the sadness of a life cut so short. All she saw was a person to say hello to, and so she did.

Kids will look into our soul. They will see the good in us that we forget is there. They will wave hello to a stranger because they are fearless of rejection.

I want to be more like children. Say hello to a stranger. Run around and play. Be kind. Hug often. Love without fear.


Creative nonfiction has three subgenres: the memoir (dealing with the author’s life and looking back at an important event to discuss its meaning), literary journalism (an event, person, or location in which the author drives deep into exploring), and personal essay (the author examines a question that he or she will answer in the end).

Poetry has confessional poetry (the “I” poems-using personal experience to drive the poem).

But what if the ideas from creative nonfiction got together with confessional poetry?

What would it be called? Or is poetry already nonfiction?

When I was starting out in my MFA program, one of the first classes I took was a Creative Nonfiction class. The professor discussed how poets usually have an easier time coming to creative nonfiction because the genres are similar. Both genres deal with exploring an event; they look at how the author interprets the events. Also, both genres use their genres literary devices to propel the story forward.

However, I’m wondering what would happen if poetry was pushed further into a fictional form?

What if, like with creative nonfiction, poetry had a subgenre called Creative Nonfiction Poetry? In this, poets would have the three sub, sub genres: the poetry memoir (the poem must recall one moment in time and discuss its importance on the poet’s life), poetic journalism (the poet examines an event, person, or location-history to modern times), and the poetic question poem (the poet starts with a question and answers it by the end of the poem).

I know these things may already exist in poetry; however, I don’t know if they exist to the point in which I am forcing the poetry into the constraints of nonfiction.

Would poetry be able to mold itself into this kind of discipline? And what would it look?

I recently read Jess Walter’s book, Beautiful Ruins. There are many things I loved about this book: the way the author explores using the “I” who is present as the action is happening rather than the “I” who is looking back into the past and re-remembering what happened at the moment, the way the author reveals things to the reader using the above method, the idea of inserting a play a character wrote inside the narration, to name a few.

However, a minor thing that sticks in my mind is this idea a character said in the book. Americans talk around the issue instead of coming right out and saying the problem. I agree with this statement and I would go so far as to apply it to writing as well. There is this idea in writing that an author has to cleverly disguise what’s happening or not reveal the ending. But then, how do we account for Flannery O’Connor who tells the reader within the first paragraph the ending of all her short stories?

This is something I think writers need to get over. There is nothing wrong with telling the reader how things are going to end in the beginning because the story isn’t about what will happen to the character;  the story is about how the character got in that situation.

I also think writers need to stop writing around the issue. I DO THIS ALL THE TIME. If there is something I don’t feel like writing about, I gloss over it. But every time I do, someone calls me out on it and says, but you missed the point here.

For me, this writing around things comes from fear. I have this one flash fiction piece that can’t find a home. I took another look at it and realized I’m dancing around the story’s purpose. I revised the piece in a way that the first sentence tells the reader point blank how the character feels about the situation. Now the story unfolds for the reader why the character feels this way instead of the dancing around the issue of the character’s feelings.

I feel more confident in the story because it is now the one I really wanted to write all along but I was afraid of being honest with my reader. I won’t be there when a reader reads my story; I can’t open my brain and let the reader see what I was thinking. My story needs to tell the reader why and then explain how the why came to be for the character.

141.2 pounds

33.1% body fat

Dear Chubby Buddy:

I know I didn’t check in yesterday and this isn’t an excuse, but this week is my final week of my first grad semester and everything is due. I worked on a ten page paper last night for about seven hours. I didn’t go to the gym; I did weigh myself, but I did nothing but write the paper. It’s not due until Wednesday, but the paper was rolling around in my head and I had to get it out.

I am disappointed I gained weight and some body fat. I’m not going to harp on it though. I know I feel different and my face looks a bit thinner. The whole medicine change might have something to do with my current status. I am not where I usually would be at this time (eating a box of cupcakes), so for me that is progress. This is all about progress and changing how I ate. Change is slow and I bet next week I will have dropped something.

There is always next week.

140.4 pounds

33% body fat

Dear Chubby Buddy:

Today was a rough day at the gym. I just couldn’t find the energy to do things. I did the bike for 20 minutes and did some weights, but my heart wasn’t in it. I came home and took a 20 minute nap. I think I am pushing my body too much. On my leg, I either have a bruise forming or a broken blood vessel. I think I have to make sure on weights day, I just do weights and cardio days are just cardio.

As far as food, I am doing well. I don’t eat after 8pm and I am eating better foods.

Tomorrow is the weigh in and I am afraid I haven’t lost any thing. 🙂

140.4 pounds

33% body fat

Dear Chubby Buddy:

I am sorry for not checking in yesterday. I actually went out with my sister and four year old nephew. We went to the Camden Aquarium in which he screamed his head off in both delight and fear. He also told me to leave him alone and I laughed in his face. It was mean, I know, I just can’t help laughing when I see kids take shit fits. So much drama! Anyhow, after he realized his little shit fit wasn’t working with me, he smiled and came running to me. Auntie Michelle 1; Jacob 0.

I came back from visiting with my sister and went to the gym. It was a weights day and I increased the bike duration to 20 minutes. I had class last night as well. I didn’t go to Wendy’s or McDonalds like I wanted to, instead I ate my first almond infused cake.

I have gone to the gym today as well. I only did 20 minutes on the bike and walked around the track. I have a 10 page paper on my mind and I was feeling antsy about not working on it. I am off to the library to do some more research and I hope to have a nice chunk of it done tonight.

I’ve noticed my legs are starting to hurt. I think I may be pushing myself too hard at the gym. I do go six days a week.

How are things with you?

140.4 pounds

33% body fat

Dear Chubby Buddy:

Well, yesterday was a wash. I had a headache for most of the day and my body was in such pain I couldn’t even move. So, I skipped yesterday. I didn’t skip that taco supreme, but instead of eating all three of them, I only ate one. I did have a “dinner party” last night and ate this great Healthy Choice meal. I know progress is being made and I just need to be patient. I can’t harp on all the things I didn’t do because I know it doesn’t help.

I did go to the gym today and was on the bike and the treadmill. I worked the ab machine and walked around the track. I can see it in my face that I am making progress and I do feel healthier. This week is my last week in school and I would normally be totally stressed. I’m pretty mellow. I think it has to do with the schedule of things. I am also trying to turn things in early to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed.

Well, that is all for me. How are you doing?

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