Music and Poetry

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on my blog before, but long before I realized I wanted to be a writer, I was something of a musician.  I played piano, flute, piccolo, and sang in just about every choir I could from fifth grade all the way up through Graduate school.  I took so many music classes and put in so many hours of choir and musical theater that I actually earned a minor in music, something for which I did not set out, but hey, I’ll take it!

Sad to say, I really haven’t been all that involved in music since I graduated.  Most of my time has been dedicated entirely to writing and getting my book out there.  I don’t regret it, because that’s what I love, and I want to write for the rest of my life.  Still, performing in musicals and Broadway reviews was a lot of fun.

We even got to perform with the King’s Singers.


That’s me with the black dress and the stupid face.


As a cheerleader in Selections from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas


As Bird Lady in Sideshow. For the record, I really hated that costume. They had promised me sexy and elegant. That dumb outfit is neither.

However, I do occasionally still play with a friend of mine.  She’s a harpist and we play a lot of harp and flute duets.  She’s also actually one of my sister’s professors at college.  She’s studying for her doctorate and hopes to one day run her own harp department at a University.


If you ever need a harpist, by the way, you can find her at  And yes, I took that picture.

Anyway, we’ve recently been revisiting the Christmas music we used to play together in church, so I decided to dig out my old flute and play.


I’ll be the first to admit I’m still a little rusty.  After all, I haven’t really played since college, and even then, I didn’t play regularly.  Just for a Broadway review here and there.


Not a great picture, but the only one I have!

It’s weird how many things we let ourselves forget.  Music, my flute, these shows, they were all such a huge part of my life at one point.  Now, they’re barely memories.  Maybe I can start to bring some of them back.  They’re good memories, and they’re worth treasuring.

As I was exploring the Black Hole of Useless Stuff that is my closet, however, I came across a few other gems; poems and papers from old classes.  I’ve always been jealous of my friends and fellow authors who can write poetry, because they truly have a gift.  One of my favorite poets is a friend of mine.  Her name is Susie Clevenger and her poetry is just so beautiful and thoughtful and real.  I am truly envious of her.  If you enjoy poetry, you should definitely check out her collection, Dirt Road Dreams.

I, as I believe I have mentioned before, am a terrible poet.  I’ve tried.  Believe me, I’ve tried for years to write a decent poem, and yet the only one I’ve ever truly liked is the one I wrote about a cockroach that my friends and I slaughtered on a camping trip (You can read that one here:

After rereading a few poems I wrote in college, I’ve reached the conclusion that I thought I could just string choppy sentences together and call it poetry.  One poem I found makes absolutely no sense at all.  It’s called My New Name.

My New Name

Music in my ears used to travel to my toes.
Whenever I’d walk to class, my feet would march in rhythm
To the song of my choosing.
Alas, my iPod’s batteries have failed me.

The vending machines are unappealing.
A bottle of water costs seventy five cents.
Water should be free.

“That’s a capital Omega! You can’t use capital letters!”
A professor scolds his perplexed class.
The smell of dry erase markers
resurrects repressed memories of math classes past.
That’s right, sinners.
You have to do calculus.

I want to get away from that room.
Specks of dust dance in the sunbeams
That pour in through the glass.

Outside, the festivities are about to begin.
I see my friends.
They don’t see me.
Through a tornado of color, music, and laughter,
I think I’ll change my name.

Seriously, though, what the heck was that?  It’s the weirdest poem ever.

Before I end this note, there is one other poem that’s actually sort of worth sharing.  It’s a poem I wrote for a class about how terrible I am at poetry.  Enjoy.

I cannot write poetry
The process is a mystery
Rhythms, rhymes, alliterations
All are lost on me.

I cannot write the words you’d like
Of scarlet sunsets, velvet night
Or the larks sweet serenade
As darkness turns to light.

I cannot write the melody
Of diamonds on piano keys
No use for painted harpsichords
Or gold viola strings.

So you see it’s for the best
I lay my poetry to rest
Poetry’s just not my thing
As surely you’ll attest.

So yeah, out of all the classes I took and all the hours I slaved trying to learn how to write a good poem, I only have one I’m proud of and two that are weird enough that I just had to post them on my blog.  And on that note, I hope everyone has a pleasant day!  Take time to remember the things you used to love, and not just the things you love now.  You might be inspired.