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January 2017

January Poetry Contest Winner

Congratulations to Elizabeth Markes for being January’s poetry winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! Elizabeth is a fantastic writer, and her poem “Remembering” shows how relatable and pertinent her writing is. Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a look out for new artists featured on this blog.

 

Remembering 

by Elizabeth Markes

Remembering the songs

I hummed as a small child

Remembering the innocence

Of my mind as a small child

Remembering the joy

Imbedded into my heart as a small child

Remembering the love

I believed in as a small child

Remembering the stories

That took me away as a small child

Remembering everything

That I was as a small child

Reminds me of everything

That I’m not as a young woman.

 

You can view Elizabeth’s other works on the website HelloPoetry, as well as on Teen Ink.

*If you would like to participate in the February writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

Good luck, keep writing, and happy Tuesday!

How To Find Yourself

It’s gotten to the point in my life where I am writing scholarship essays, considering universities on a global basis, and weighing in my options as a student; I am thinking about my future now more than ever.

My philosophy in life, up to this point, has typically been to let everything lay in God’s hands; I tell myself not to fret because everything has been laid out for me and everything happens for a reason. I’ve always believed that, if you work hard, your destiny will show itself to you.

I suppose that that’s a sort of Daoist point of view, but it has been mine for quite a while. So now, when the tables are turning and I have to start making major, life-changing decisions and figuring out my purpose in this world… I have no idea how to do it. I have lived my life for so long depending on an external force that I have no idea how to handle my future on an internal level.

Th whole predicament leaves me with one question: Who am I?

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I feel as if many people reading are going through this same issue. And, I’m telling you now, that there still is a path laid out for us… We simply need a compass to find it.

There are two major steps to discovering yourself:

1.  Distinguish Your Compass 

Compasses typically manifest themselves as passions. My uncle, a man with a PhD in his hands and with thousands of miles of travel experience inside his head, advised me yesterday, “Always follow your passion.” Your passion will tell you where your happiest path lies and how to get there.

So. To establish your “compass,” you must fist start by evaluating your passions. For instance, my passion is writing and reading; therefore, I will most likely follow a career path along those lines.

I have taken multiple career and skill tests, and they all tell me to be a doctor or family counselor… Although those things may be nice and hustle in the bills, they are not, in any form, my passions. In other words, I do not know if they will make me happy. But, I know what does. If you know your passion and know that it will make you happy, follow it.

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2. Embrace New Opportunities;
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Along every path, there are short cuts and areas that divert from the original trail. In these cases, you should allow yourself to take up new opportunities, no matter what it is.

People typically have more than one passion (or compass) to tell them where to go. So, follow as many as you can. My uncle, the man with a PhD, took up a job as a waiter simply because he has a passion for learning new things, despite the environment. Accepting various opportunities increases your experience, increases your knowledge, and therefore increases your wisdom. Wisdom is an understanding of the self, which should be your ultimate goal.

Travel the world. Take up a new job. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do. But always remember to follow your passion– follow your compass– no matter the cost.

Good luck, adventurers. I’ll see you on the other side.

Books Are Not Dying

A couple years ago, I was given a Kindle for my birthday. I remember being excited; I was ready to read my favorite classics on the same device wherever I wanted, eager to swipe the touch screen, anxious to download dozens of applications from the app store. But, most of all, I was excited to just read digitally. I was excited to read on a screen, was ecstatic to know that my eyes would absorb glowing, pixelated words…  at least, I thought I was.

Digital copies of books seem to be overwhelming the current reader population. Even textbooks are slowly disappearing from my school and are replaced with electronic versions, distributed by links and loading screens.

So, with this personal experience acting as evidence in mind, do I think books will die in the future? Do I think they will disappear and lose their meaning?

No, I do not. I believe physical books will triumph over e-readers and digital novels, claiming victory for generations to come. And why do I believe this, even after I have been witnessing the decline of physical books for years now?

It’s because I know that humanity will never part from art, never part from its origins, never part from its instinct to cling to its history. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Physical and textual language provide this current that push us and hold us “ceaselessly into the past.”  Its power lies in its roots to human history.

Even throughout prehistoric times, humans communicated through ways of art and self-expression. When you hold a book in your hand, the roots of humanity twine around your fingers, lock around your wrists. It is impossible to deny this type of emotion: the feeling of primitive simplicity, the sight of words on a page and the negative space surrounding them. The syntax, the structures, the sentences— they are familiar through this bond we have to the past. They are familiar through the paper beneath our palms. Reading with a book in your hand– the pages slipping between your fingertips– simply feels… right.

The reason why we still create art—including music, dance, film, paintings, drawings, novels, and poems—is to grasp these roots we recognize so clearly and to stem from them. We constantly create new branches for future generations. As a result, it is guaranteed that we will never deviate from the same roots we have always known.

This is precisely why I collect physical books, and why I read physical copies. Not for the pride or the display. But for the everlasting feeling of wholeness and connectedness that I cannot experience through my Kindle.

Books have always been stubborn contributors to our history. And I know they will not give up so easily.

If you have any insight on this subject, comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

December Poetry Contest Winner [Plus How to Submit]

Congratulations to Chloe Coates for being the first poetry winner of the 2B or Not 2B website! Every month there will be a new winner pertaining to all genres of writing, so keep a look out for new artists featured on this blog.

Doors to Life
by Chloe Coates

What are we,
man,
woman,
child,
that have the chance
to bring forth life
into this hopeless world?

A smile,
a laugh,
an idea.
When allowed to grow, to thrive,
they produce a beautiful thing…
happiness, life, love.

We, humans, are the doors
to
life.

*If you would like to participate in the January writing contest, simply fill out a form on this website’s Submissions Page. You may send me an email or comment below if you have any questions or concerns.*

Good luck, keep writing, and have a very happy New Year!

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