A Poem for My Daughter

When she was born, I finished the process of becoming a mother of three.

For My Daughter

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

You’re my heart and my soul,

You’re a star in my sky.

You made our family whole,

When the stork dropped you by.

 

You are loved, my firefly,

Never doubt your self-worth.

No one else could satisfy

Your place on this earth.

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Live the Life You Love

I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt today. I bought it on sale somewhere. It’s a simple white t-shirt and it says “Live the Life You Love”.

I bought this t-shirt because it took me a LONG time to figure out the life I love is okay. I’m a homebody. I don’t like huge adventures. I’ll never go cliff diving. I don’t enjoy public speaking. In fact, some days I don’t like talking at all. I like people but sometimes I don’t want to be around them. Ideally I have a few hours completely to myself during the day. I almost never want to go to parties. It’s nerve-wracking to me being in large groups. I never know what to say. My family are the only people I want to see on a day-to-day basis. I’m an introvert.

I’m a 47-year-old introvert and it took me almost this long to figure out this is okay.

Yesterday I cried when I heard Chris Cornell committed suicide. Not because I’m a huge fan, but because suicide is so tragic and prevalent today. My heart aches for those who are driven to that extreme by our world, because, although I’ve never considered it, if I were growing up in today’s world, I believe I might have.

Today’s world treasures the extroverts much, much more than ever before. The Youtubers and “Influencers” and sports stars and beautiful people. To a young introvert growing up among so many bright and shining beings and so many who can (and do) emulate them, the world can make an introvert feel very small and worthless—even when you have talent and beauty of your own that you’re just not as comfortable sharing.

This is addressed to my fellow introverts, young and old. YOU are okay. Do the things you love, live your quiet life, but LIVE it. Don’t ever give up. You may not feel like you fit in, but—and please trust me on this—the puzzle pieces of the world will eventually move over and let you shape your own spot. Find the things you love to do and do them. Contribute to the world in your way and don’t let it make you what you’re not. Because then you’ll never find peace.

God bless us all, introverts and extroverts alike. I have a feeling we all need it.

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Cover Reveal: Time Being

I’m thrilled today to be able to share with you the cover (designed by the fabulous Farah Evers Designs) of my upcoming novel, Time Being, the second book of my Synchronicity series (Out of Time, Book One; Strange Path, A Synchronicity Story). Time Being continues the adventures of Kaelyn and Jack from Out of Time and brings back Hunter Drake from “Strange Path”.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey June 21st:

time-being

Can love survive when time and space are out of sync?
In the aftermath of the Battle of the Portal, Kaelyn and Jack are left to pick up the pieces. But now they face their greatest challenge yet. Locking the portal hasn’t provided the Meti with the safety they’d hoped for. Instead, it has wrenched the worlds of Eladi and Ayeli into worse alignment than before.
With time and space at war with each other, Jack and Kaelyn must endure more devastating loss in their search for answers for both worlds. They turn to Kaelyn’s Elf uncle Hunter Drake. Will his sorcery be the answer to their prayers…or bring more danger into their midst?

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Mother’s Day Poem

Perhaps brought on by my “Bad Mommy” experience of last weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood and what exactly it is.

I realized that if we’re lucky, we have a lot of mother figures in our lives. Just giving birth to kids doesn’t make you a mother. A mother is more than that. My own kids have me, two grandmothers, the wonderful lady who’s helped me with babysitting, laundry, housekeeping for eleven years, and several teachers, relatives and friends who’ve at one point or another provided guidance or help. A veritable village of mothers out there—I’m just the one who’s lucky enough to live with them on a day-to-day basis.

So I wrote a little poem for all the mothers out there, whether you gave birth or even live with your children. If you’ve ever supported a child in a time of need, this is for you.

 

What a Mother Does

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Mothers may

Lend their bellies

To grow their infants

Or their arms

To hold them

Or their breasts

To feed them.

Mothers may do that.

 

Mothers do

Give their hearts

To love their children

And their spirits

To hold them up

And their lives

To help them grow.

Mothers always do that.

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“Bad Mommy”: A Profound Awakening

I took my kids to a rock festival this weekend. Carolina Rebellion 2017. The Cult played Friday evening, Tesla and Def Leppard (a band I’ve wanted to see since I missed out on them in college) were there on Saturday. And Skillet, my kids’ favorite band, on Sunday. I like Skillet. I approve of their positive message in a world where teens are bombarded by negative ones. Plus, they rock.

We talked to the kids ahead of time about what the festival might be like. There’d probably be drugs and drinking and strong language. The people there might look different from what we see in our small town. I’m not sure how much of that the kids heard in the excitement of seeing Skillet, but I’m happy to say I have confidence and trust in my kids. I figured we’d all be okay.

So this weekend, we packed up the car and left. We got there just in time to hear The Cult play. We ate some bad festival food, got home late, slept late, and then went back for more. Saturday was an epic night for me. I’ve loved both Tesla and Def Leppard since I was in high school and college. Both of them performed. I think when I’m on my death bed I’ll smile at the memory of dancing with my daughter under the stars while Def Leppard played some of my favorite songs.

So far, so great, right? True, we were out of place. None of us have tattoos and my daughter and I have four piercings between us. A couple of times I smelled some funky smoke. We saw some drunk people. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the F-word screamed over a microphone so often. And my youngest, nine, was definitely in the minority at this festival full of college kids, metalheads, bikers and death rockers. So much so that quite a few tattooed, pierced and leather-clad people had to pause to give her a high five and compliment her on her dancing.

Sunday was the day we’d been waiting for. Skillet played Sunday afternoon and signed albums and CDs after. My kids wore the Skillet shirts I’d bought them for Christmas. They were excited as we approached the festival grounds. We all were. And that’s when I saw him.

Dressed in khaki pants and a knit golf shirt, he might have stepped right off a golf course. He had a microphone and sign and he was preaching at the sinners walking past on their way to the festival, telling them to go to church instead of to a rock concert. I took my daughter’s hand as we crossed the road. Some instinct made me want to protect her from this guy. He watched us walk past, still preaching. It was only when I was about ten feet past him that he did it.

“And there goes a bad mommy right there, folks. Taking her innocent child into this den of iniquity…” (That may not be an exact quote. My blood pressure shot up so much after the “bad mommy” part that I couldn’t hear well over the rush of blood in my ears.)

My head swiveled around in shocked outrage. How dare he? How dare he play on the guilt that all mothers have? The guilt that we’re not good enough for these amazing creatures we’ve been blessed with? The guilt that we don’t do enough, aren’t smart enough, should make better school lunches, throw better birthday parties…do this…don’t do that…

“God bless you!” I yelled as loud as I could manage, putting all my frustration and anger and guilt into those three words. God bless you, you (BLEEP) because I’m not going to.

And we went on to a fantastic concert full of great music. And later, when we met the four extraordinarily polite and friendly members of Skillet and they all high-fived the kids and shook their hands, I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. One of the women in the band had purple hair, another pink. Lead singer John Cooper wore a lot of leather and had tattoos. He smiled when my daughter handed him a picture she’d drawn. His voice was kind.

And that’s when it hit me.

Of all the people I’d encountered that weekend, that hate-spewing, vitriolic man outside telling me I was going to hell was the only one I’d felt a real need to protect my children from. My instinct had been to pull her away from a—Christian?—and hurry her into a rock concert. What does this mean for the future of Christianity?

Over the course of the whole weekend, I saw no real sinning. No fighting or violence. Just people enjoying life and music. Just people there for the same reason I was. Peace, love and rock-and-roll, man.

As for the “Christian”, well, I hope he made it home safely.

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Happy May Day! (Poetry Summary)

Happy May Day! I remember one particularly happy May Day in elementary school when our art teacher arranged for us to dress up in white and perform a maypole dance. I loved the pretty dress I wore and the colorful ribbons we wove around the maypole (which was actually a flag pole, I think). I’ve always thought it would be fun to do that with my kids, but I guess—like many fun things—the maypole dance is actually sort of a pagan ritual.

May Day and pagan rituals aside, I have completed my own ritual of writing a poem a day in April, and I am actually quite happy with the results. I learned a lot about poetry. It’s a totally different style of writing than writing prose, and especially different from writing a novel. I think my sense of rhythm improved this month and I know I got better (or at least more daring) at rhyme. But what really surprised me was the sense, when I completed a poem, that I’d created a piece of art. Like a sculpture or a painting. Much more so than when I write novels.

I don’t think it has to do with the length of the story. I believe it’s the skill required to combine rhyme, rhythm, structure and story all in a compact nature. Though I can write a poem in a matter of minutes, it requires more thought and planning than you’d think. So, in a way, it’s like sculpting words.

As it happens, I didn’t love every poem I wrote last month, either. But I am happy to note that I only resorted to a simple haiku three times, one of those being Easter. I chose haiku style for the three stanzas of “Headline Design” on purpose, but I don’t think it was a simple haiku. I’m not sure which is my favorite. Possibly “Living in Eden” or “In Over Your Head”. It’s hard for me to like “Self Portrait” because it feels sort of—too revealing. But at the same time, I think it is good. I really like “Beverly Cleary 101”, too.

So that’s it for my poem-a-day-thon. But I think I’ll still post poetry on here from time to time. And I definitely plan to keep writing it. That sense of accomplishment at the end of each poem is too satisfying to give up!

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National Poetry Month: Poem 30

I wanted my last poem of poetry month to be different. A little special and about something I don’t write about often. So here you go. I was as honest as I could be.

Poem 30

Self Portrait

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

Broad strokes for face,

Not my favorite part.

A finer point for hands,

Nimble and quick—

But the weather changes

And pain sets in.

Pink for the breast

And scarlet for the center.

Let the red run a bit,

Let the heart bleed—

No shame for feeling

The world’s hurts.

The head is hardest,

The brain a smudge of gray…

But changeable, like a thundercloud

On a summer’s day.

It’s me, but not.

Not quite, anyway.

I suspect I don’t really know

What others see,

And there’s no other way

To know me.

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