Poem: Dancing Fairies

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At the end of ninth grade, I approached my English teacher about the idea of a literary magazine for the school. She really liked that idea and said she’d look into it. We had a small student newspaper, but there wasn’t a whole lot in there.

I had helped on the literary magazine during eighth grade, and it was a cool experience to see submitted writing and artwork from students. It was also a challenge to put it together. When you’re not directly involved, you don’t think about the details and the process: having to evaluate submissions, handling pieces submitted anonymously, which piece seems right to be first or to close the collection .

I had shared some of my writing with her during the year, some things I had done outside of class. And she encouraged me to submit to a magazine for young writers. (I forget what the magazine was called.) I sent in a bunch of things, but “Dancing Fairies” is the one they published. I can’t say it was a favorite of mine, but at least someone else liked it.

This is another poem that I believe was inspired by a phrase I drafted using the magnetic poetry pieces.

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Poem: Darkness


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You could say by 9th grade I had a lot going for me. I got along with my classmates, even if there wasn’t a lot of socializing outside of school. I had a few close friends who went to public school, and we still got together often. I was playing basketball and had made the varsity team. And that first year of high school I was making good grades and doing well in class. And yet …

Yet somehow there was still room to write this.

I honestly don’t remember what inspired this poem, what specific thing happened to prompt writing this. It was kind of a shock to find when looking through old files, but there are a few lines that seem familiar. No matter. It’s another clear indication that things weren’t okay. There were definitely problems beneath the surface, problems that for whatever reason I didn’t feel I could vocalize directly.

This was written at the end of my freshman year in high school.

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Only freshman girl to make varsity

For several weeks after school started, we had basketball conditioning. Lots of running. This was mostly student-led by upperclassmen. I believe the state rules indicated the coach couldn’t be involved when basketballs were used. So we could do non-ball-related activities in her presence. Stuff like suicides, wall sitting to work the lower body muscles, getting into defensive stance and shuffling across the court.

We had a small group of girls try out for the team, to the point where I figured everyone would make the team. Nope. Still a few students were cut. We had the bare minimum of people for varsity and junior varsity.

I was the only freshman girl to make varsity, but that doesn’t mean I was ready for that level.

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The freshman experience

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I wanted an image of something where you would think it’s daunting in the beginning, but once you get in the middle of things it doesn’t seem quite so bad. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But it has that climbing a mountain thing working for it, which also applies.

Isn’t it funny how things seem more intimidating on that first day but then become less imposing as you become more acquainted with it, whatever “it” happens to be?

This high school seemed huge when I came over a few years earlier for my brother’s orientation. Some classrooms had two doors, so we’d enter through one and out the other on the guided tour. I guess that coupled with the route we took made it seem like the school was bigger than it really was and that it was possible to get lost in it, at least to a sixth-grader. But in reality, the school was one long hall with two small hallways branching off.

Ah, the power of perspective!

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