Sarah E. Seeley

White and Red

 By Sarah E. Seeley

WhiteAndRed-2-01

White and red

The earth extrudes

In brightly-banded bed

The air is hot

My pack

It weighs

Upon my neck and head

*

The road is gone

My path

Alone

Is of my choosing

Now

And I will blaze it

As I judge

To study

Ponder

Somehow

*

To climb a slope

To brave a ledge

To dance and bathe in red

To grit my teeth

Against a piece

Of rock

Detecting

Tasting

Types of sed

*

And leave myself

To nature’s hand

To be one

With her sand

To find

One’s inner genius

To read the earth and land

*

To notice

The smell

Of Junipers

And be whole

With past

And present

All in one

Place

My secret stage of intellect

In my heart

And

My mind

*

White and red

The earth extrudes

In brightly-banded bed

The air is hot

And still

Except

For a breeze

That can be heard

Rushing

‘Round the hill

And trickling

Through

The trees

*

It catches me

By sheer surprise

I hold my breath

And close my eyes

*

The breeze

Hits me

It tickles

My face

It teases

To pluck away

My hat

And papers

And scatter them

Upon

The steeper

Crumbling face

*

It overrides

My voice

To carry

It bids me

Stop

And hold still

*

Its force

Against my body

Challenges me

To remember

I am

Strong

By Heavenly Father’s Grace

*

It buoys me

By my invisible wings

And lifts my soul

Into flight

*

I inhale sharply

And look out

On the beautiful

Expanse

Before me

I had not noticed

My breath is stolen away

*

As I sigh

I am

Empowered

And refreshed

***

About White and Red

I wrote this poem when I was working on my summer field capstone course for my undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University (summer of 2009). It is inspired by my LDS religious perspective as well as the incredible experiences I had studying geology out in the field. I love geology and I love studying the earth. In my mind knowledge, discovery, and divine inspiration all go hand-in-hand.

Since I don’t post my creative works themselves on here as often as other content, and the old blog where I used to have this no longer exists, I thought it would be fun to share this poem again. I hope you enjoyed “White and Red.” (Once titled: “Finding The Inner Genius On a Geology Fieldtrip”)

Dave Butler’s Table at Salt Lake Comic Con

As I’ve plugged many times the past several weeks, I will be at Dave Butler’s table selling Maladaptive Bind and “Blood Oath: An Orc Love Story” at Salt Lake Comic Con this weekend. Want to know where the infamous Dave Butler’s table will be located at Salt Lake Comic Con? Below is a map of the Artist Alley near the public entrance to Comic Con as taken from the roster (click image to see larger). Dave Butler’s tables are Yellow 38 and 39–where I’ll be, along with Angie Lofthouse, David West, Scott William Taylor, Scott Tarbet, Nathan Shumate, Jaleta Clegg, Sara Butler, Craig Nybo, and more. Come say hi, and buy our books! ;-)

SLComicCon2014 Artist Alley Map

Want to know more about what panels I’m on this weekend? Check out my schedule under the Events tab here on Slithers, or browse the official Comic Con schedule for panels under the Panels tab, Panel Schedule.

Me As A Writer

I’m in the process of preparing for a writing symposium this week, where I will be speaking on panels, selling physical copies of my book in public, and participating in a mass signing on Friday night–all for the first time. I’ve shied away from writing thoughts the past many months because I feel like I say weird things sometimes. Or I get intimidated because I think I have to write something long and deep and awesome to make up for all the time where I haven’t blogged. I’m pretty self-conscious about putting my half-baked/constantly-shifting thoughts and opinions out in public, I guess. But every once in a while those discussions on random things turns into something cool. So, in anticipation of all the cool people I’m hoping to meet and reconnect with at LTUE, I’m making a goal of blogging one small, random thought a day for the entire week…so all you fantastical people who decide to check out my blog have something to read.

Today I’m simply going to talk about how I feel about being a writer and what being a writer means to me. (This actually turned out to be way longer than I thought it would be…enjoy!)

One thing that is truly amazing about living in the twenty-first century is the fact that most of the people you’ll meet around the world are literate. They can read. They can write. They can even use social media to connect without ever having met you in person. This means that just about anyone can write a story, and just about anyone can read it as long as the text is available in a language they understand.

Being a writer is hard work. Like anything, writing well in any particular format (be it fiction or a research report) takes practice. And there are many elements involved that need to work well to create a satisfying story, all of which require a lot of practice.

Writing is about discovery. I learn a lot of interesting things about myself and the way I think real life works (as well as how other people might think real life works) as I’m striving to find a meaningful and coherent way to express thoughts and feelings, or to invent  strange worlds/situations that no one has encountered before. Stories are puzzles that we as writers have to not only evolve but solve to some satisfying degree in order to take readers on a novel journey they will enjoy.

Writing is lonely. I can’t tell you how many times my own family members have said discouraging things to me about my writing, or my ambitions to publish and find some sort of professional success in this area. Determination is an evenly matched emotion in my mindset with my sense of “nobody cares about this but me, so why am I doing this if no one is going to read it?” It’s a real wrestle for me to eek out words some days. There’s certainly a mix of emotions I have to deal with every time I sit down to write that have nothing to do with my skills or how much I’ve practiced, and there are days where I stare at the blank page for a really long time, wondering if I’ll ever produce anything “good enough” for other people to enjoy without soliciting their approval. I’ve also had to learn a lot of things about fiction writing by myself through trial and error. I’ve had to search for people who could give me the useful feedback I needed in exchange for the investment of time and help they needed. And it’s painfully, painfully lonely not to have a mentor or a good editor around to help whenever you need training, or even someone to just root for you to keep going because A, B, and C are looking so much better than they were in your writing up to this point. It’s a challenge to keep going sometimes, because it’s hard to see where you’ve improved and where/what you still lack without a second pair of trained eyes. Writing is also highly subjective, so when you do get feedback from others, be they writers, professional editors, or your best friend, their insight and impressions of your work may not always help your storytelling improve.

Writing makes you grow. Writing horror fiction has given me the courage to explore topics that normally frighten me or that I don’t like to deal with in real life conversations. In the process of creating characters who are a little more raw and have problems I don’t even like to think exist sometimes, I discover that I often have a healthier understanding of human nature than I thought I did.  I’m not as easily offended by tasteless moments in movies or other media, and I don’t feel as helpless or psyched out emotionally when someone is thoughtless, shocking, inappropriate, or even intentionally hurtful. I’m not a doormat. I don’t take crap personally. I’m not as afraid of my own flaws. I know my core. I’m secure within myself, and I’m better equipped to see through the nonsense and listen to what people really mean when they say or do something. I also feel better equipped to be more respectful, thoughtful, and helpful to other people in more ordinary but still disconcerting struggles than I thought I could be.

To sum up how I see myself as a writer: I’m an explorer of the unknown, both in the world and within myself. I’m searching for what it means to be human by making connections between the pain of existence and the reparative, redemptive powers of love, regret, compassion, hope, and enlightenment/education–whether it’s romantic interest, God’s love, or any other relationship that makes right and wrong, good and evil, relevant. I function at once as a cathartist and a fulfiller of wishes. I’m a magician who has modern conveniences like an education, portable laptop, the internet, spell checkers, and a nearly infinite supply of pens and paper to make writing completely accessible if I’m willing to work at it. I’m a wordmister who struggles to balance description with meaningful action and likes run-on sentences. And ultimately, I’m just another human being with a few ideas to share and a few questions to ask.

I’m a Panelist at LTUE 2014

I have exciting news! This year at the local Utah writing symposium “Life, The Universe, And Everything,” I will be participating in six panels on writing and craft. This will be my first time attending LTUE (as well as any writerly event) as an author/panelist, and my first time selling my book Maladaptive Bind in person at a public event. This is a really fantastic opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to sharing what I know about writing–especially writing scary stuff–making new friends, and reconnecting with stellar people that have believed in me, motivated me, and encouraged me to keep writing.

Here is my tentative schedule, should you feel so inclined to drop by and see if I have anything interesting to say (or, if you don’t think you’ll find me interesting, then the other panelists certainly will be):

Thursday, Feb. 13th

  • 7:00 P.M. – Reclaiming the Vampire: Adrienne Monson, Andrea Pearson, Janci Patterson, Jess Smart Smiley (M), S. A. Butler, Sarah E. Seeley.

Friday, Feb 14th

  • 12:00 P.M. – The Curse of the Jungle/Ice/Desert Planet: Brook West, Eric James Stone (M), Nancy Fulda, Jaleta Clegg, Sarah E. Seeley, Roger White.

Saturday, Feb 15th

  • 10:00 A.M. – The Engines of Exploration: J. David Baxter, Brett T. M. Peterson, Dan Willis, Sarah E. Seeley, E. A. Younker (M).
  • 1:00 P.M. – Death and it’s Consequences: Al Carlisle, Dan Willis, Heather Frost, Jason A. Anderson (M), Julie Frost, Sarah E. Seeley.
  • 4:00 P.M. – Horror on the Edge: How Far is Too Far? Andrea Pearson, C. K. Edwards (M), Dr. Michael R. Collings, Jason A. Anderson, Sarah E. Seeley, Steven Diamond.
  • 5:00 P.M. – Descripton in Writing: D. T. Read, David Powers King, J. D. Raisor, Mikki Kells, Sarah E. Seeley.

Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association. She has a bachelor’s degree in geology and loves exploring the science of human origins.

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