Writerly Wednesday – Catalina the Brave (Poem)

I am most certainly not a poet, but during my last semester of college, I was forced to write poems. Although I doubt I’ll ever strive to publish a book of poems, or even count myself as a poet, I do appreciate the art of it. I enjoyed learning to take a story and fit it into stanzas. Poems breathe a little differently than prose, which made them a little tricky. Overall, it was a really nice class and I look forward to writing a few more poems in my future.

Here is one I workshopped back in March:

Weekdays from eight to three she is like everyone else.

Her best friend is Tucker

Sometimes they climb up the slides together

But only when they think

you can’t see them.

 

She can spell her name

But only if you remind her what the first letter is.

C — as in Cat.

That’s actually the first three letters of her name

But you aren’t counting.

 

Monday at lunch she ate the crust

Off the marmalade sandwich her father had forgotten to trim.

You put what snacks she didn’t eat in the filing cabinet.

Storing them like food for winter—

A rainy day drawer of sunshine Sunny D.

 

That way on Wednesday when she turned to you

And told you she wished she had fruit snacks

You could give them to her.

Daddy sent them special for you. Isn’t he the best?

She was pleased. Your heart somehow felt lighter.

 

Days passed and suddenly it was the end of that first week

She brought in a build-a-bear

And stood in front of the class, swaying back and forth

Clutching the animal like a shield.

She is a three year old built of enough kisses to last a lifetime.

 

Together you sat on the bench next to the carpool line.

At your request, she counted how many blue cars drove by.

She kicked her chubby legs back and forth,

Still gripping the teddy bear.

It is pink, like the laces on her light-up Dora sneakers.

 

Now the color stands for

So much more than it ever did before.

It is the emblem of a battle lost,

A tear-stained teddy stuffed with

The fabric muffled words of a warrior.

 

Her daddy arrived red-eyed and unshaven

She was the proud owner of his only smile.

In that moment, you thought of the drawer filled with snacks

Of the lopsided pigtails, crust encircled sandwiches

And the build-a-bear stuffed with mommy’s voice.

     | Catalina the Brave |

 

 

 

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

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Story Time Saturday – Things I don’t want to ever forget

 

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Jonah

My Mema and Papa go to the same Hardee’s every morning and order the same thing.

 

My daddy reading me the Harry Potter books way past when I actually needed to be read to–because we’d started that way and he was going to finish that way.

When I was younger we weren’t really supposed to put the dog on the bed, but whenever we had hard days Mama would let us. When we got the news that daddy would need open heart surgery, Mama and I sat on the bed cuddling with our golden retriever. He’s gone now and I still think of him as “the heart attack” dog. Miss him. 

My grandma used to tell us that if we didn’t clean all our scratches we’d end up with an infection. One time she told me that she once knew someone who’d lost a finger because they hadn’t cleaned a scrape well enough. She used to pour this stuff that burnt and smelt terrible on all of our injuries. To clean it, she said. I hated it, but all I could think about was that person who’d lost their finger. I liked all of mine and figured I’d try to keep them.

My Mema is the only person who calls me Bri and I love it. 

Back when I was Sissy and my little brother was Bubby. I don’t remember when I stopped calling him that, but I remember vaguely whenever he stopped calling me Sissy and started using my name. He’s nineteen now. I don’t really know why, but it still kind of makes me sad when I think about it.

My Papa Crump has always been a story teller, but recently his favorite story is about when he was young and he demanded a raise from his boss. He went to his boss and said that if he didn’t get more money he was gonna have to quit and find something else. His boss said, “Bill, I don’t want you to quit.” and Papa said, “I don’t wanna have to quit.” The man gave him a raise. I don’t know why he keeps telling us this story, but I’ve heard it so many times that I can still hear him saying it in my head. I don’t want to ever forget that. I recorded him telling it on my phone. I have a lot of recordings of him telling stories on my phone. 

When we were kids, my cousins and I used to run barefoot all over our grandparent’s yard climbing trees. I was the oldest and it was always my job to create the game. I’d make up a story and divvy out parts. I always took it very seriously–I think I was a writer even before I knew I was. We used to take my grandma’s old dresses from the fifties and wear them while we played. They were our costumes. Our armor. Our ballgowns. The dresses still hang in the same closet they always have.

Mama didn’t really like us watching Cartoon Network when we were really young. When I went to my grandma’s house I used to watch it anyway (I know, I was such a little rebel). Courage the Cowardly Dog used to give me nightmares. Mother knows best. 

I can still remember the exact second I decided that I wanted to be a writer. It was sudden and absolute. I haven’t stopped wanting it since.

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Fenway as a puppy

When we brought my dog, Fenway, home for the first time he fit in the back window of our car. He slept there, it was his favorite spot. He’s the size of a horse now and I have now idea how he ever managed to fit somewhere as small as that. 

I was so scared to show my dad my writing at first. I felt so terribly vulnerable. Now he is the first person to read anything that I write and I would be absolutely nothing without him. 

My mama used to sew me dresses with tags inside that read “Made with love by Mommy.” I have no idea how to sew, but I want to learn for the sole purpose of being able to one day do that for my children.

When my dad had his third heart attack, my mom came into my room and told me what was happening. She was getting daddy ready to go to the emergency room. She told me to take care of my little brother, Josh. I remember making him Easy Mac. I was probably twelve or thirteen at the time. We stayed by ourselves in the house that night. I think that was the first time in my life that I’d ever stayed overnight in the house without an adult there. I slept in my parent’s bedroom and worried all night. I think Jonah was probably on the bed that night too. 

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Papa at the Farm

My family has a farm house in the middle of nowhere. It is about two hours from where I live. It is over two hundred years old. My great grandparents lived there and it is where my papa was raised. My grandfather is such a good storyteller that I can sometimes feel my great grandma Maggie in that house, even though she is long dead and we never met. He describes her so vividly that she feels real. I know she still lives in that house and I hope it always remains standing for her.

 

 

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

Story Time Saturday – My First Road Trip

Okay, so this isn’t really a story about the road trip itself. It’s actually a story about that one time when the car broke down *no less than three times* during a road trip to New York. So, buckle up…

My Junior year of college I went to New York with some friends. At the time, I had a friend who lives there and so it was an easy fall break location. So the four of us loaded into Rachel’s car and we set off. I’d never been on a road trip before and so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have always been the car DJ and this trip was no different. I complied a playlist of everyone’s favorite songs and we headed off. Good times.

It was only a three or four-day trip. I think we left on a Friday morning and we were supposed to be back to school by that Tuesday evening. We accomplished this–but it was far from uneventful. We got about half way and stopped at a Cracker Barrell in West Virginia. Driving through Virginia is sort of the bulk of the trip since we had to cross it diagonally. We drove through the day and only stopped for dinner because we needed a break and because the car had started making a *quiet* noise. We ate dinner and paid. In the dark parking lot of the Cracker Barrell, we used our phone flashlights and checked the oil. All seemed well. We got in the car and started heading back towards the highway. we’d just reached the end of the road that led to the restaurant when the car just quit. Nothing. Luckily we were kind of already on a hill, so we rolled forwards, across an empty road and into a Sheets gas station.

Now came the part–calling moms. We were stuck, a few hours away from home and unable to go anywhere. In the dark. Joy. I called my mom, opened with a, “Okay, so everyone is fine, but…” and proceeded to explain the situation. At this point, we were around four hours from Rachel’s house in New York. We were four hours away from the closest parent who could help us. Mom located the nearest hotel, which was actually positioned directly behind the gas station, and called to see about getting us a room. I was the only person with enough money to get a hotel room, but I wasn’t old enough to rent a room. The lady at the hotel was incredibly sweet and let me do it anyway–since we were stranded.

We pretty much rolled Rachel’s car to the hotel and stayed there until her dad reached us at around two in the morning. He traded cars with us, loaded us into their family van and we were on our way to NY. What ended us being kind of cool about this is that we were actually able to see the sunrise over New York since we arrive right around that time. We got to Rachel’s house and pretty much died until some time later that Saturday morning.

New York was fun, but that isn’t what the story is about–so fast forward to Tuesday morning at like five or six. Since Rachel’s car is still in West Virginia (fixed and waiting for us, mind you) we load into her family van and begin the drive to get her car. The plan was to get to West Virginia and get her car. Her dad would come later to get their van from where we were leaving it at the mechanic. Her dad had taken the van to the shop the day before to have it checked to make sure it was set to take us to West Virginia the following day. We should fine. We leave Rachel’s house without incident. We had just gotten onto the ramp onto the highway when the check engine light came on in the van. It starts acting weird and Rachel calls her mom. We pull off onto the side of the side of the road until we have spoken to her and we feel more confident that the van can actually manage to get us back to Rachel’s house. We head back. If this isn’t the most ridiculous turn of events. Sigh. At this point, we were just really all over it and ready to get back.

We reached Rachel’s house and huddled in the basement watching Elf. We napped and waited to figure out what was going on with the van. We woke up to word that the van was going to need some work and we would need to rent something. Since none of us are old enough to rent a car at this point, Rachel’s dad left work and came back. He rented a van *exactly* like her family van and we finally left  New York. Things were fine and reached West Virginia without too much trouble.

Rachel got her car from the mechanic in WV and we were told it was good to go. We moved all of our bags from the van to her car and settled in for the ride back to North Carolina. Rachel’s dad said that he was going to follow us for an exit or two just to make sure we were going right, and then he would take the rental back to NY. We said goodbye to him and headed off. We were tired but in good spirits. Then the third breakdown happened. The check engine light came on in Rachel’s car and she called her dad. We left her car at a gas station and put all of our stuff back in the van. Rachel’s dad drove us all the way back to Gardner-Webb and we arrived really late Tuesday night.

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And that is the story of how we were broke down three times during a road trip.

The struggle is so very real.

 

 

 

 

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

Story Time Saturday – That One Time We Played Hide & Go Seek: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a very large group of college students.

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The college students in question.

It was Friday night and they were incredibly bored. Their university, although fair of campus,  possessed only one stoplight and lacked sufficient entertainment. Everything closed at 10 pm, save for the Walmart and the Cookout, both of which were at least a twenty-minute journey from their place of residence. And so it was decided that they should busy themselves in some other form of merriment. Since Netflix had long ago lost is luster, they turned their fickle attentions to a new wonder–the convocation center.

 

Since the gym was used for serious athletic prowess, they knew better than to be seen sullying such a place with their own meager skills. They decided instead to explore this new territory in an invigorating game of hide-and-go-seek. They waited until late at night after all had left, then they set out.

Since the gym was used for serious athletic prowess, they knew better than to be seen sullying such a place with their own meager skills. They decided instead to explore this new territory in an invigorating game of hide-and-go-seek. They waited until late at night after all had left, then they set out.

After a few rousing games, it was decided that they should play sardines. For those of you who have lived this life and yet never experienced such a game as this, let me explain. Sardines is a game in which one player hides away and must be found by every other player. Once found, the finder must then hide alongside the original player until all, save one, are hidden. The name originates from the cramped conditions of the hiders, resulting in an experience similar to that of canned sardines.

Rules were set out. It was said that the players should avoid hiding in offices, places shut tight behind already closed doors, and all bathrooms. The hider was chosen and the game began.

The convocation center is a maze of circles, one on the main floor and one on the basement level. The Gymnasium sits directly in the center of the circle and can be entered from many different entrances set along the path of the outer circles. Although seemingly simple, this structure can become confusing to a newcomer. There are many hallways branching off of the main circle these often lead to many smaller wings of the gym. These hallways are often begun by swinging doors set within alcoves of the greater walkway. It was one such alcove which our initial hider chose this night.

Slowly the players gathered. In order to remain unseen from the walkway, they needed to press against the door for which the alcove was created. This gathering continued for some time, as sardines is not a particularly fast game and the gym is not a particularly small place.

Some stood, some sat. Nearly half a dozen players had gathered when they heard it, the sound of footsteps. A somber hush fell over those hiding–for the object of this game is to remain completely out of sight.

Without warning, the inside door of the alcove was hauled open and the hiders were laid bare, not by one of their friends–but by a complete stranger. Much to their surprise, it was a boy–clearly just trying to exit the men’s basketball locker room. He laughed and the group of embarrassed girls scrambled away, hastily trying to explain themselves. ‘Twas quite mortifying. Needless to say, from that moment onward, they were quite careful about when they played games in the convocation center–lest they be caught once more.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading my incredibly anticlimactic story. 🙂

Also, that’s a picture of Ellen perched on a vending machine like a bird. You are welcome.

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.

Story Time Saturday – Adel

I will go ahead and say that this blog post is more for me than it is for readers.

I don’t remember much about my freshman year of college. It often comes to me in the smallest of ways, no more than a snippet of a memory–an inside joke or a sweet note. I kept a blog on Tumblr of my entire college career. I was a lot more dedicated about updating it the first three years and a little lazier about it towards the end, but I have them nonetheless. They are mine and I am very thankful for the gift of social media. I may not remember it myself, but I can scroll through my Tumblr and see the moments that shaped my experience at Gardner-Webb. I can see when I became friends with people and, sadly, when I stopped being friends with people. But that is a post for another day…

Today I want to talk about one particular memory, taken from my own mind and not the blog. I can quite vividly remember the moment I met Adel.

At Gardner-Webb University they have this torturous program called University 111. It is a requirement for all freshman.  Perhaps it wouldn’t have been quite as terrible if I wasn’t such an anxious introvert. Anyway, it’s more or less a class where you learn how to be a college student. They teach you so much, and also absolutely nothing. They don’t warn you about how much you’ll grow to hate CAF food. They don’t tell you how hard it is to make it to that 8 am and not just stay in bed. They don’t tell you that you’ll definitely spend more time watching Netflix than you will studying for any of your classes. They don’t tell you that most of the people you meet freshman year probably won’t stay your friends. And they make certain to leave out any and all information regarding what to do when you eventually fall in love with college life and have to leave. What University 111 does is put you in a room with ten to fifteen complete strangers and make you pretend to get along and like each other until you actually do. Now, I will go ahead and say that I did not stay friends with anyone that was in my University 111 class, in fact, I can’t remember any of their names. But, it I met one of my best friends through one of the group building events that University 111 forces you to do.

Adel. 

I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor of Marissa’s dorm room watching her paint. Marissa would become my roommate the following year, but at this point, we were just new friends. She is incredibly artistic and was busy preparing for her University groups activity at October Fest (an indoor Halloween festival that Gardner-Webb hosts every year). They had to run a booth and give out candy to the hundreds of kids that would be coming for the festival. Their theme had to do with princesses and they were giving out paper crowns.

There was a knock at the door and in came a girl who I’d never seen before. I don’t remember if she introduced herself or not, all I remember is that she had the thickest accent I’d ever heard in my life. Hungarian–although I didn’t know this at the time.

Adel looked down at Marissa and I and said, “Ayeneegum.”

It was clearly meant to be English but she’d said it with such force that it was almost frightening. Her thick accent made the words blend together until it sounded like one long sound. Naturally, we were confused, Marissa, less so than myself since she seemed to know this girl and I most certainly did not.

She was asked to repeat herself and again she forcefully said, “Ayeneegum.” When this was met with blank stares, she spoke again, “Ayeneegum.” This time she snapped her teeth together for added effect. Marissa and I exchanged an uncomfortable look.

One of us asked, “You mean gum? Like chewing gum?”

Adel rolled her eyes as if we were complete idiots and said, “No, gum.”

“It’s like a candy…”

“No.” Adel grabbed the waistband of her athletic shorts, pulled the fabric taut before letting it snap back against her hip. “Gum.”

I remember putting the dots together and grinning. “Oh! You mean elastic?”

 

Turns out, that is exactly what she meant.

And that is the story of how I met Adel.

 

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Adel getting sharpie tattooed by Marissa our freshman year.

 

I could go on and on about her and how funny, and sweet, our friendship is. Of the people I met freshman year, Marissa and Adel are the only two friends who have remained with me. They are, perhaps, some of the friends I hold most dear to my heart because I have known they the longest. They have known me since I was still learning who me was. It’s crazy how much has changed since that day in Marissa’s room. I don’t know how the heart decides to love someone or why it does, but I most certainly love my friends.

edit 4.jpgOn Tuesday morning Adel will fly back to Hungary and I may never see her again. I don’t want to think about it, but I don’t know how I can avoid it. It is happening whether I want it to or not. For four years I have had a clock on my phone set to Budapest time so I know when I can message her. For four years I have read every text message she sends me in her accent. I have been her teacher, her editor, and her mom. She calls me “mum” and has for as long as I have known her.

 

And she is getting on a plane and leaving. I know that my heart is going to break in a whole new way on Tuesday. Adel has always wanted to know why I haven’t included her in any of my books. I have a tendency to write people in, or their idiosyncrasies, unintentionally. She wants to be in a book and I want to write her in, but I know that I cannot do her justice. I can’t explain who she is on a page–I’m trying right now and failing, I can already tell. I don’t know how to express the kind of person that she is. I can’t perfectly capture her accent or her odd way of speaking. I can’t describe to you just how easy it has become to understand her. The way she talks is natural, normal and I love it. I love her. She is one of my best friends in the entire world. And I always want to tell her that I can’t write her in because no one will believe me. An agent or beta reader would accuse me of being stereotypical or misrepresenting a group of people. But Adel is just that unbelievable. She is not ever Hungarian. She is absolutely insane.

She is often more naked than she is clothed. 

She eats mayonnaise on her pizza.

She always swaps out her middle finger for her pointer finger whenever I do something she doesn’t like. 

She’s never eaten at a Tacobell. 

Her American alter ego is named “Elizabeth Happy” and she calls herself that whenever she wears makeup. 

She can’t say the Hungarian alphabet because it is too long. 

At Christmas, we play Santa Claus and leave candy in her shoes. 

Her laugh is always forced, then turns real. 

American curse words never really sound as harsh when she says them. 

She taught me how to say “hide and go seek” in Hungarian and I would tell you what it is but I actually have no idea how to spell it. 

She loves the One Direction song, “Steal My Girl” because she usually can’t remember the words to American songs and instead sings, “Na Na Na” to the tune. It actually works for this song. 

She once rode around campus hanging out of the passenger side window of Katie Pie’s car. 

She cries whenever she hears the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic. 

She is currently road tripping across American and by the time she leaves on Tuesday she will have seen more of my country than I have. 

Our group of friends often joke about how she is a mythical creature. She isn’t real. She doesn’t exist. But she does–and I am so incredibly blessed to have known her.

 

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One of our senior pictures. From left to right: Shay, Me, Marissa, Adel, Lili, Sydney, Kayleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I don’t think she ever did find the elastic she was looking for. 🙂

 

 

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0cf4b5_f96085ede92143278d8874b405bce387~mv2Hello! My name is Brianna Joy Crump and I am a twenty-two-year-old writer from Raleigh. North Carolina. I am a recent graduate from Gardner-Webb University where I received my BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. While in college, I wrote nine and a half novels, as well as multiple short stories and a handful of poems. I am currently rewriting one of my novels and hoping to pursue agents and publishing come the fall. For more information, feel free to contact me on social media or check out my website.