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Submit Your Writing to Stoneman Douglas – “Art for the Heart”

Dreyfoos School of the Arts’ own literary magazine is initiating a program to help the students at Stoneman Douglas. We are asking students to submit visual and/or written submissions that are meant to heal the students and faculty at Douglas. All submissions should be sent to seedsmag@gmail.com; we also launched an Instagram page called seeds.artfortheheart, where students can follow this initiative live. Seeds is going to personally deliver all submissions to Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support.

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Solace

When everything churns and sinks in reverse

and the moon pulls back its tides with taut strings,

the waves of the ocean crash and disperse

in the tumult of my imaginings.

 

But oh, let the continents shift and quake,

and let the sun’s final rays brush the shore;

his promising light is what my heart aches:

a glistening star I have fallen for.

 

I would gladly suspend in endless gloom

if it meant I could hold his ardent light,

because only he can make my heart bloom

with flowers basked in his beaming delight.

 

Let the world dive, let my words fall to sea;

my star will glow, his light will comfort me.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

The Rose

A delicate rose perched on a bush,
her hand beneath her chin.
Her sigh froze dew drops in the air;
her patience was waning thin.

For she was awaiting Autumn—
he hadn’t visited in days—
and he had promised that he’d bring her
the sun’s sweetest golden rays.

But ‘twas Winter who had stolen Autumn
when he blew his chilling kiss;
the maiden: “Where art my Autumn dressed in white,
the lovely warmth I miss?”

Winter cloaked himself in velvet blue,
and his eyes were cold as ice;
the maiden: “Where art my Autumn’s tender passion,
his fragile warm device?”

The rose began to shrivel,
her bud began to decay:
“Have mercy, oh cold Winter;
please let my Autumn stay.”

But Winter merely stripped her
and ignored her wish to weep.
He listened to her last breath
as Autumn sang her to sleep.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

The Librarian

There is a librarian who

organizes fluttering

memories.

The birds fly in with ebony words smeared on

their wings and they always

soar with more

questions than answers;

her thoughts are dust-covered dancers

twirling behind

crumbling books locked

in skyscraper-shelves;

she told me to look

for your book

yesterday and I peeled it open and there were

too many blank spaces between unfinished words;

question marks licked each page

and each page crinkled at my touch

and my touch left nothing but an indent (between the words “loss” and “love”)

and love was felt with your entire being

but being sick left you torn at the binding;

 

I took

your book

and slammed it against the table—

I watched the pages flutter

like feathers

and then I left

the remains to the

librarian.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Why I Wanted to Be a Writer

I used to want to be an astronaut, floating above the earth and watching the stars; instead of a story teller, I wanted to be a listener.

My great-grandmother wobbled over to the dining room table every morning to slip her mug in the microwave. She plopped down in the sunlight, dunk her tea bag, and splashed cream into the hot water. In her wobbly voice, she regurgitated the weekly news on politics like she had the day before, and I nodded or loudly answered back in agreement.

The evenings, though, were when her mind switched on and she was exceptionally cognitive. I’d sit across from her in a velvet, worn chair and we’d talk for hours about Grandpa Lacrosse and their cabin on the mountain. “You’re so mature for your age,” she said one day as we sat in the back, gazing at the Pennsylvanian snow. A plump chipmunk shuffled across the pavement and gazed at her, then me. “You remind me of me.”

I used to perceive the world as an outsider, floating above the earth with wide arms and closed eyes. I depended on satellites; I absorbed information, but I did not reflect them back to the people beneath me. I was external.

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Before cancer took him away, Matt liked to talk about his days as a color guard in high school. And when he wasn’t talking about them, he gazed at his coffin in the living room with ferocious intensity, as if he challenged it to swallow him. When he visited the day of my Prom, I listened to his memories of his friends, of his competitions. “Thank you for making me feel alive,” he told me. The sentence caught in his throat, and the astronaut inside me wavered.

Bishop Mark, the man who, over the years, became more of a grandfather to me than a bishop, reminisced of his days as a student in Rome. Tears pooled down his cheeks as he remembered the man who taught him that theology is learned through lives as well as scripture. The stories he told me made my heart swell, and I felt as if I needed to do something with them.

When my great-grandmother died in 2016, I began telling stories rather than just simply listening to them. Stories include memories and experiences– the world’s most valuable commodities. With experience comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes wisdom. So I gather these stories in my mind for the sole purpose of telling others. I write them down in poems, in prose; I photograph them. Something tugs at the soul when you connect to another soul. I want to grant others this feeling of connection.

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Years ago, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to observe people from the outside. Now, I am internal; I am human. I am a writer.

To Love a Bird (Is to Paint Her Red)

I am azure-headed,

ruby-breasted,

emerald-winged. I flutter

into your embrace,

only God and His sun

as my witnesses.

You tell me that I dazzle color,

even when my feathers are

plucked, even when all that is visible is

the white plumage beneath the surface.

When my toes are ripped, you stitch

them back; when my beak is scratched, you

flip me onto my back and

place a healing kiss to the wound.

“You are my painted bunting,” you say,

and I squint into your eyes—they are my stars, that twinkling choir—

as my breast swells with a certain fire.

I was born

blue-headed and green-winged,

but you, my dear, you are the artist

who painted this chest red.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Plus A Little Box of Wishes)

If you live in the United States, you know that tomorrow is the blissful, food-filled day of Thanksgiving. Although every family upholds their own set of traditions, I thought I’d let you in on a personal tradition (one I started last year) that you can follow, too.

There is a small, pale, wooden box that sits on my dresser. It’s nothing special on the outside, although I’d like to think that it holds special words inside.

At least once a week, I write prayers and wishes on a colorful sticky note. On this note, I typically address specific people in my life who I am thinking about. I’ll write a few words, fold the paper, open the tiny clasp on the box, and finally drop the sticky note inside.note-2737073_1280.pngI’ve made it a personal point to do this throughout this year, and I’ve realized that my awareness for others and my spiritual connection have definitely strengthened.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, I will open my Little Box of Wishes and sift through all of the prayers I have written down this year. In particular, I will account for the prayers that have been answered; I will then place those specific notes in a new box, one that holds all of my answered prayers and wishes. I am especially grateful for these notes in particular; I know that, by sifting through my box tomorrow, I will not only be reminded me of what I’m thankful for, but who I’m thankful for as well.

If you’re looking for new avenues of inspiration, try doing some sort of variation of the Little Box of Wishes tradition. I know I will continue it into next year.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

The Pains and Gains of College Writing

‘Tis the season for college applications. If you are a senior in high school or a transfer student, you are most likely in the midst of writing the most important essays (arguably) you will ever write in your life.

More than anything, word count seems to be the bane of any student’s existence. Supplemental essays may ask a profound question, yet they require a maximum of 150 words. These essays are, in actuality, gold mines if you know how to work them. Their purpose is for colleges to see if you can synthesize information and only tell them what’s important.

You may ask, How can I possibly explain my life in 150 words? 

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Mr. Moore, my Freshman writing teacher, repeated his mantra every class: “Omit needless words.” Doing this is a skill you will learn over time, but first you have to understand that unnecessary words and paragraphs weaken your essays.

As a quick exercise, describe an object that is closest to you at this moment, such as a lamp. In your description, in 150 words or less, outline the function of that object as well as its appeal to you. Exercises like this will help train your brain to only record the most important details rather than needless “fluff.”

College application essays offer you the chance to be open, vulnerable, and honest. The people reading your essays are not random English teachers judging your writing; these are professional admissions officers searching for what makes you human. In particular, they want to find things that reveal who you are in a way that your application cannot.

Personally, my Common App essay was, hands down, the hardest piece of writing I have ever had to write. This is because I wrote about an issue that I feel uncomfortable talking about; the fact that I had to write about it meant that I had to be honest with myself and accept the way I am.

If you are working on an essay, I am always available to provide critiques. Feel free to send it to my Sumbissions page and I’d be happy to help.

Happy writing!

Coffee & Company

Don’t fill up

on coffee,

she said,

Because the grinds are too simple–

they sit

in your stomach– they

rub your intestines like

sandpaper. Coffee is straightforward

and bitter

like your grandmother’s humor.

Instead, break the fast

with orange juice– something sweet

yet sharp.

Start your morning with

a complication,

hydrate your soul

with sympathy and jealousy,

be an enigma, a twist, be a mystery

they ponder,

because the one who takes the time to solve you

will be the one who always sits beside you at

the breakfast table.

 

Written by Hannah Butcher
©2BorNot2B. All rights reserved.

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