oil on canvas @1906
George Hitchcock (American, 1850-1913)
Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
The following piece was my entry for the Medusa Mythology Creative Writing Contest in which I was tasked to retell a classic Greco-Roman myth from the point of view of a heroic helper. I hope you enjoy.
When he landed on Ogygia, it was dark. Dark enough that I could not see his weathered body worn by years of struggle. Dark enough that I could only see his magnetic brilliance. I immediately decided that like Ogygia, I would be an island of beauty among his ugly waters of trauma and ache. I sang. At the sound of my voice, his eyes met mine. Even behind tears, his eyes shone so intensely that they pierced the darkness and bore into me. I initially believed that my voice, silk like my braided hair, caused his tears— at last! Relief from the turmoil!— but they never stopped. Not in song, not in silence.
We made simple introductions. Calypso. Odysseus. Now, when mortals say my name, it is always in tandem with his. But for seven years, we were the only ones with the power to utter our names. My name, so powerful from his lips. Powerful enough to fell the thickest trees, to brave the wildest storms, to decline immortality, to leave. His name, powerful, but not because I was breathing it. Because that is just who he was: powerful. Brilliant. Odysseus.
second grade writing journal
As soon as I understood what it meant to write your own lyrics, I bragged about Taylor Swift’s songwriting abilities to anyone who would listen. “Did you know Taylor Swift wrote that song all by herself? Not many people do that nowadays.” I was seven and smugly parroting a YouTube comment, but the urge to be one of few people who wrote for themselves was strong. I first rewrote Swift’s songs in my own words, thinking I was clever, while really just making them into unintelligible messes. When I finally felt skilled enough to tackle an original song, it was something completely novel: I rhymed “you” with “blue.” (Five times in a row…. Truly groundbreaking material!) But the more I learned about Swift — she won a poetry contest in fourth grade! She says she wrote a book one summer! — the more I wanted to emulate her, the more I wrote and wrote and wrote. Journals filled with attempts at depth and profundity overflow from my desk, and though I now look back on those pages with cringing hindsight, I think about how they wouldn’t exist at all without Taylor Swift.
Thank you everyone for coming out to support me and local original music!
Growing up, I swore to myself that I would become as distanced from New Jersey as the horizon is from the sea. Maybe that meant California, Ireland, or a never ending string of destinations far away from Cape May County. Winters here are characterized by an oppressive emptiness, and summers are stolen by swarms of tourists. Tourists who take our parking and our beaches and our sun, but tourists who I miss once winter rolls around. Spring and autumn are the only seasons which I feel belong to me, but what is six months of begrudging content compared to a complete year of unbridled happiness elsewhere? And so, I made the vow that I would leave the small world of the shore as soon as possible.
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of being able to "meet" Elsie Callender of Tea and Ink Society. We discussed our mutual love of literature. Check out our conversation over on her blog! Thank you to Elsie for our conversation and for her blog feature!
Enjoy these photos from my performance at End of the Road Theater on November 6, 2021. Thank you to all who came out to support me and my music. You made my night! Thank you, Stevi and John Paul for capturing my event. Thank you especially to Jen Swain for giving me the opportunity to play at End of the Road Theater. "All Too Well" by Taylor Swift featured because as I said, "Who would I be if I didn't play a Taylor Swift song?"
I'd like to thank award-winning author, Jan Sikes for supporting me as a singer/songwriter and indie music artist. I contacted Jan through her blog about a month ago and she was instantly interested in my concept EP, "make it be me." She is helping to spread the word about my literary-inspired music in her Writing and Music blog. I'd love for you to head on over to check out her blog and read all about my music and its inspiration. There's a giveaway included for two lucky winners; if you leave a comment and share her blog post on social media, you can qualify for the prizes too! Two winners will receive a t-shirt, cd, bookmark, pin, and sticker. Thank you to Jan, her readers, and to all who have shown me such amazing support over the past few months!
On Saturday, November 6, enter the enchanted world of Ocean City teen indie-pop singer-songwriter, Méabh Stanford for a night of local original music at End of the Road Theater. Her live show will take the audience on a journey through literature and media as she performs songs on guitar and keyboard from her newly-released concept EP, “make it be me,” along with unreleased original music and select songs from her favorite artists.
Newly-opened End of the Road Theater is an independent movie theater and live performance venue in North Cape May. The 40 seat BYOB theater is a local stage for local talent. The theater is located at 3845 Bayshore Road in North Cape May. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased in advance here or in person at the box office.
Hope to see you at the show!
This song is written from Billy Pilgrim’s (Slaughterhouse Five) point of view. He is such an interesting character and because I agreed with many of his ideas this was a fun song for me to write. However, there are parts of this song that are purely Billy.