Category Archives: Writing

How do I love cheese? Let me count the ways.

How do I love cheese? Let me count the ways.
Co-written with Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love cheese? Let me count the ways.
I love feta and gouda and fried mozzarella,
My soul can feel the gooey cheese with marinara
For this dairy product is what I chase.

I love cheese to the level of every day’s
Most urgent need, by breakfast grumbles and lunchtime hunger pangs.
I love cheese freely, as men love football;
I love cheese purely, as they turn from the stove.
I’ll love cheese with the passion put to use
In my old age, and with my childhood love of Kraft American slices.
I love cheese with a love I seemed to lose
As I down the last bite. I love all cheese—
The mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, all the cheddars of my life; and, if God choose,
I’ll have cheese in heaven after death.

To do: Think a deep thought

I think to-do lists are a real-world example of how the act of writing helps us make sense of things. While journaling and creative writing helps us to make sense of the bigger things, like complicated events and who we are, list-making helps us organize the minutiae of our lives into something tangible, something that seems do-able.

On being cliche

Right now I am typing to you from a coffee shop in my small college town. I could totally post a picture of my laptop with little iced coffee sitting beside it and planner if I had a camera on me. On the radio is some Jack White band, maybe a Raconteurs album that I don’t have or maybe Dead Weather because I never bought their album. Maybe even White Stripes. Well in my cliche attempt to flirt with the barista I asked and it is indeed not a Jack White band but rather some indie project I don’t remember the name of twenty seconds after asking from Austin. It’s pretty cliche, along with the straight-across bangs I got this weekend. Also cliche is that I have this blog and my decision to go to a coffee shop to get out of my apartment, be less of a hermit, and hopefully at some point meet a new guy who’s cooler than my ex-boyfriend. Also cliche is that I’m bashing my ex on my blog.

As you may or may not know, I am on the journey to becoming a middle or high school English teacher. At this point, I’m leaning more toward high school, but we’ll have to see how I feel once I spend some time observing/student teaching in a middle school. Well, yesterday was my first day as a student “teacher” (although for the first month I’m not doing anything more than sitting in the back of my teacher’s classroom and observing… well today I did edit some papers with a red teacher pen, and that was pretty fulfilling). It’s really bizarre to introduce myself and answer as Ms. Hurd instead of Katie. It was also surreal to use a red teacher pen on actual student papers, and I imagine the experience will undoubtedly feel more and more like I’m playing pretend before it will feel like I really am a teacher. If I were using my red teacher pen right now, I’d mark that so far this paragraph is not connected to my topic, but I promise it is. I’m at a school in middle Georgia, and as you can expect many of my students are pretty country. Today one boy told us all about how he loves to hog hunt more than anything. He told us about how when the guy who taught him to hog hunt did, the first thing he did was put him in a pen with hogs because apparently if you don’t jump on them, they’ll jump on you and attack you because they’re extremely aggressive and have tusks. Apparently to catch a hog you have to jump on it and wrestle it to the ground without it hurting you. I was pretty amazed at the bravery of this fifteen year old boy. Just looking at him, a quiet kid in a private school uniform, I never would have thought that he would have the power to wrestle a wild hog to the ground and capture it. People can be so surprising.

I guess you may be thinking that I shouldn’t be surprised that a middle Georgia boy with a thick Southern accent would hog hunt. You also aren’t surprised that I’m writing this from a coffee shop right now or got bangs. But I would like to challenge you to let yourself be surprised by everyone, because cliches and all, there’s something more to each and every one of us than there appears to be.

New poem: “To Sylvia”

I just wrote this about my “relationship” with Sylvia Plath and would love feedback from any and all of my readers, especially constructive criticism.

“To Sylvia”

Two years ago,
I had a dream
that I met you at a reading.
Somehow, you were both alive and
a successful Lady Lazarus.
I ran to you, told you how beautiful you were, how talented you were,
how sad I was that you had decided to die
Again
that you finally got it right that time—
“No, kids, Mommy’s not making a cake.
Mommy’s done making cakes.”
I woke up confused, because I always thought I hated you, Sylvia.
I have bad-mouthed you for years,
that you feed into the stereotype
that women writers are mad:
insane mad, angry mad, stay-away mad.

I did hate you, Sylvia—
I hated all of you that was in me:
I hated the inability to be a happy housewife,
the inability to shut up and smile,
the inability to just be happy.

I was afraid of you, Sylvia—
feared that people would read my work and point to you,
feared that the poet within me meant that you were within me,
feared that I would not grow out of my Esther Greenwood disillusionment.

I’ve learned to make peace with you, Sylvia,
the you within me, Sylvia—
angry, dissatisfied, sometimes frightening,
beautiful, talented, and always lovely.

Why poetry?

I was given an assignment for my Curriculum & Methods class to write a 150-300 word piece to convince my reader that poetry can express things that no other creative medium can. Here’s what I came up with.

I could have painted you a bleary watercolor,
given you a amateur-dubbed tape,
written you a novel of a letter

about how I miss you—
now that you’re dead
and will never hear the last things I had to say
now that you’ve left me
and don’t care to hear.

I could have sang off-key from a screeching mic,
danced too fast as my arms jiggled,
screamed, a madwoman, from the rooftop

about how I love you—
now that we’re finally together
you’re probably embarrassed and wondering why
now that you’ve been born
I’ve become my rowdy mother.

I could have home-run-swung at your windows,
Jack-the-Rippered your tires,
carved my name in your hood

about how I hate you—
now that I found your car in an interstate-diner parking lot
after you left us 5 years ago
now that I have seen you with her
through your steamy windows.

I could have written you a well-ordered paragraph,
included a clip-art graphic with a heart-felt plea,
or maybe some misattributed quote from Shakespeare

about how poetry moves us—
but now that you have felt
loneliness
desertion
infatuation
joy
confusion
betrayal
it’s clear that poetry is most necessary way to say
exactly what it is we all need to say