poetry

seaweed (a poem)

seaweed like a corpse slices
across the beach, with tendrils
like emerald fingers clutching
for the briny, golden shore.

i walk to it, curiosity seeping
out of me, wondering why
it looks as if medusa’s scalp
has suddenly washed ashore.

where did this come from?
why now did the sublime sea
think it timely to spit up
this messy creature before me?

but eventually my interest
fades, just like the sunset
slipping across this
balance beam of horizon.

there is so much more here
than this beached seaweed:
there is the stab of mystery
that brings me to the edge.


AN EXPLANATION.

Hello, my dear readers!

I am sorry I have been MIA lately (check out next Friday’s blog post for the explanation). You guys give me so much inspiration, and I do feel like I have been missing out in the past few days, as I have not been active on WordPress. That being said, I am back and very much excited to be part of this community’s happenings!

“seaweed” is a poem I wrote for creative writing class last autumn. It’s not one of my favorite poems, but I thought it would be applicable to this blog, as we like to discuss philosophy and mystery here at Katie Kay.

There is something poignant about things we cannot fully understand. Maybe what I mean by this is that we see something as vast and powerful as the ocean, and despite knowing what it is, we’re not really able to fathom it completely. Okay, some of you skeptics out there are like: “Huh? What is this girl talking about?” But I’m here to say that when I look out into the vast beyond, I am normally quite astounded by the immense unknowns. We don’t know what all is there, despite having a basic understanding of what the ocean is.

Here I go again rambling, but I’m serious: Consider a place in nature, and think on it for a second. Maybe your place is a park in your hometown, or a mountaintop that has special meaning to you, or a beach where you dig your toes into the sand. Imagine yourself there, and then close your eyes. Hear the sound of the ocean, or the wind, or the whistle of the birds. Fully envision yourself there.

Now reflect on what you feel, what you’re thinking, what you’re imagining, as you dive into this place you’ve chosen. Probably you’ve found yourself wondering a whole lot more about your world than this special place in your heart.

Today I challenge you to take a moment and reflect on your life. We’re not guaranteed every day on this planet, so we must make the most of the time we’ve got. And for me, that’s finding solace in nature, even when things aren’t as pretty as they seem.

Okay! We will have a brighter post on Monday. I think Monday will be a “life” post, and then you can expect an “update” post next Friday, in which I explain what I’ve been up to.

I’m very excited to get back into the swing of reading your posts, and I mean that! Thank you for keeping up with me in the meantime.

-K.

 

writing

CATCH THE WIND (a short story)

EVERY WHICH WAY there are faces.

Black, white, brown, yellow, red, pink skin. Giant, small, lopsided, almond-shaped eyes. Broken hearts, swelling pride, fragmented dreams, wondering what happened to fuel them this far.

A billion stories reside within the souls of these people, and the depths of discovery here have no limit. There must be millions on these busy streets, in the swelling metropolis of New York City, as the hubbub of car horns blasts from the roads. But I don’t want to be anywhere else, even as their body heat turns my cheeks ruddy and a woman falls over me.

 It is chaos: A sweet, simple, human chaos. A chaos I don’t pay attention to often, a deep dream that is blurred by my career, my family, the city itself. Usually I am a thoughtless wanderer, off to work, off to the routine. But for a strange reason, today, I watch those around me.

A girl on her father’s shoulders stares out in the sea of bodies asking for cotton candy.

Businessmen and women chirp into phones, sipping on warm coffees, pupils aglow with the thought of greenbacks.

A hipster dances past, headphones deep in his ears.

A young teenager attempts to read a novel without bumping into anyone else. Good luck, kid. I wish I had that skill.

A few paces ahead, the dark red hair of a woman catches my eye–that luminosity, the shine, a color that stands out anywhere.

But it’s when my mind captures individual faces, I am astounded by the complexity of our world, and how this is where I am meant to be at this exact moment. For a reason. My heart swells inside me like a rushing tide ready to break free onto warm sand. Humanity is unimaginable, incomprehensible, and I am a witness to the individual facets of this species. 

And then I see him.

Up ahead, a tall man glides down the road, a peculiar hat perched on his head despite the cloudy day, the perfect weather. He glances back, sweat trickling down his cheeks like dripping candle wax. My eyes unfalteringly set on him. He blends into the crowd. His head bobs over the regulars and the tourists, but there is nothing special about him. Normal features, normal attire, normal everything, really. Could be a banker or a teacher, who knows. He tugs on his hat a few times, pulling it closer to his crown. Maybe he’s a murderer, I decide in the loneliness of my skull; maybe he’s an angel. He glances back around him, avoiding stubborn souls sweeping down the sidewalk.

Somehow–and for whatever reason–he locks eyes with me. As my gaze focuses in on his warm amber irises, it happens like magic: He is gone, a departed ghost. A mysterious flash, within the blink of an eye.

I stop in my tracks. A man barrels over me, and then like the parting of the Red Sea, people swim around me down the street. But I pay no attention. I look down the way to the spot where I saw this man disappear, and a squirmy ache in my heart sickens me. What did I witness? He was gone in a literal flash, like the sudden disappearance of the sun on a perfect day.

With careful examination of the crowd, I see nothing. Even if he didn’t disappear or I simply blinked and he was gone, I would never be able to find him, not with the hordes of people pushing past me now. They pass me by, their arms grazing my flesh, and I realize how lonely inside I am, how crazy I must be. People don’t disappear into the clouds. With a thumping heartbeat, I look up into the sky, as if this is a plausible way the man left the streets. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

Tiny teardrops of water hit my nose. Did anyone else notice? 


AN EXPLANATION.

Oh, my beautiful readers! This post is one of the weirdest I’ve done in a while, and that’s because of the story around it.

As some of you guys know, I’m working on a novel right now called Church Boy. It’s a 55,000 word Christian romance novel that I’m hoping to publish soon. And somehow as I was editing this book late at night on August 5, I stumbled upon my Submittable account. What is Submittable, and why does it matter?

Submittable is a way for writers to query multiple agents at once. It’s an easy tool to use, and somehow I fumbled upon my account and saw my previous works I’ve sent off to agents in the past few years. And “Catch the Wind” was one of them.

According to this entry date, I submitted this short story to a magazine in February 2015. (Over four years ago, what in the world?). Now what’s really wild is that I have no trace of this short story on my new computer, and I don’t remember writing it. That being said, I know this short story is important, because as I read it, I thought to myself: Why not put this on the blog?

“Catch the Wind” is a short story that made me stop in my tracks, now that I’m reading it four years later, because it convicted me. It made me think that I pass so many people on a daily basis, and I ignore them. It isn’t humanly possible to recognize every single person on the face of the earth, but I do think we have a responsibility to put our energy into the people who come into our lives unexpectedly.

In 2019 it is easy to hide behind a screen, especially in public places. We’re selfish people, and we tend to find momentary happiness in stroking our own egos, but I believe there is long-standing joy in strengthening our relationships with others. This can happen through budding friendships, waving at strangers, and casual conversation with an old friend.

What I mean is that we have a limited amount of time on this planet, and we need to make the most of it. When we see that someone’s hurting, we need to help him or her. When our intuition goes off and implores us to help another, we should follow this sense.

This life is much more about we can individually do. It’s about coming together, as corny as that may sound.

Because what if, going back to my story, we are the man who disappears into thin air? What happens then?

Okay, enough ramblings from me now. I just thought this story would be a perfect Friday morning blog post, and I hope you enjoy this little guy from a seventeen-year-old Katie Kay.

More on Monday!

-K. ❤

Volcanoes National Park, Hawai’i (July 2019)

thoughts

BEACHSIDE REFLECTION

Hello, my awesome readers!

Hope all is going well in your nook of the world. As for me, I’m passing through Meridian, Mississippi, on my way home from a little weekend on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. My face is tomato red, but maybe the weird sunburn will fade into a nice tan (I can only hope on this one lol). And though I’m excited to head home, this past weekend provided a few reflections I’d like to share with you all.

There is something about the ocean(s). Maybe it’s the mystery of the endless blue, and what swims within it. The tides shift and change, and yet waves keep pushing to the shore, revealing one man’s trash and another man’s treasure. (Okay, I couldn’t resist with that line.) In a world that operates in black and white, the sea reminds us of Earth’s last unexplored unknowns. And though many of you probably live near a coast or have been to the ocean many times in your life, there are still so many people out there who have not seen the ocean and may never get the chance.

But the magic allure of the ocean does not end.

As always I pray that this won’t be a rambling post. It is my wish that you guys gain something from these “reflection” posts. If you like to think a lot about the world around you, then maybe these reflection posts provide a fresh perspective for you. ❤

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What a beautiful sky! (Orange Beach, Alabama // May 2019)


1. YOU CAN’T CONTROL EVERYTHING

This may seem like a ridiculous observation, but it is very true: Though we may think we are the masters of our own universes, there are some things out of our control. I’ve probably harped on this in the past, but it’s a mantra I need to keep at the forefront of my mind.

As I’m getting older, I find a sense of confusion as to what is going to happen in these next few years. There are things I want to accomplish, but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do it. Obviously mistakes will be made, and growth will be a huge factor as to how the invisible future clears up.

Though I am quite the believer in going with the flow, I do tense up when I consider the fact that there are so many unknowns out there: What will life be like in fifteen years? Will we have gone to Mars yet? Is it possible that extraterrestrial life exists? Are my friends going to live near me when I’m older? Will I have to move away? Am I really going to go buy another Diet Coke before the day’s over?

The answer to all of these questions is quite simple: Who knows? It’s hard to swallow the truth, and it burns sometimes, when things don’t pan out the way we expect them to. Yeah, if I could go back in time, I’d change some things. I’d probably change a lot of things, but then I’d be inevitably screwing up some other component to my life in the meantime.

It’s hard to recognize that we can’t control everything. It’s so hard, but it’s a reality to be remembered.


2. TIME DOES NOT MAKE SENSE (and probably never will)

As each ocean wave slams against the shore, another second has passed.

Though I hate to consider the power of time, there is an incredible resilience that belongs to it. Without time we are humans left to wander the world without proper direction. If it weren’t for time, then we’d lose a huge chunk of how important certain acts are.

Now, more than ever before, I have felt that time is flying by without any concern for me.  But guess what? That’s not for me to control (see #1). Since I’m the “queen” of my universe, so to speak, I feel that the world owes me something. But it doesn’t. I want what I want, and that’s because of my selfish nature. But this desire creates stagnancy in growth, along with a lack of appreciation for what’s to come.

It’s okay to be scared for what’s to come. It’s okay to miss what used to be, but remembering that life stops for no one. Time’s a selfish thing too, and it does not discriminate against anyone.

When I lived abroad in Argentina, I had a countdown of the days until I would return to the United States. My little notebook was filled with scratch marks from each day, as I wanted nothing more than to hop on a plane back home.

What’s wrong with this ideology?

Many things. For one, it’s never a good idea to wish away your moments, when some people are not as fortunate as us when it comes to how long we get on this planet. Secondly, my negative attitude caused me even more heartache. Thirdly, if I hadn’t gone to Argentina, I would have missed out on certain things that are quite defining in my young adult years: These people, memories, and experiences would not have prepared me for appreciation of who I am today. 

We must remember to give thanks for each day, especially when we really will never know when it will be our last.

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White, sandy beaches and the blue sea (Orange Beach, AL // May 2019)


3. BE APPRECIATIVE

To continue off #2, it is crucial to have appreciation for what has been given to you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’re going… You have been given gifts, skills, and a life that is yours to live. You have a purpose that no one else has, and it is up to you on whether or not you’ll live with a spirit of thankfulness.

When I was a young chiquitita (a young kid hehe), my dad took me to Burger King for a morning croissant. I love croissants, and he was surprising me with the treat before a long day at school. Though I was used to my dad buying me things, I was also used to taking what was given and chomping away.

But that morning stands out in my brain for one particular reason. He handed me my food like normal, and I said, “Thank you.”

His big blue eyes widened and he stared at me, mouth agape. “What?”

“Thank you,” I repeated, taking a big bite of the bread.

“You don’t know how much that means, Katie,” he said, and my heart about burst.

My dad taught me something hugely important that morning. What was even better than that sweet croissant on my tongue was the knowledge that came with taking a moment to thank the person who gave it to me. My dad was doing something to show he cared for me, and a simple “thank you” was the least I could say to him in response. From that moment forward, I learned the importance of those two words.

Just saying thank you, however, is not going to cut it. Though I am a writer and emphasize the weight of words, sometimes I have to tap myself on the shoulder and say, “Words are just words.” What really matters is the intention behind what we say, and the spirit of appreciation is tightly linked to this.

We have one world, one life, and one opportunity to spread positive energy. One way to do this is through humility and remembering our blessings.


RAMBLINGS.

Well, I think about covers it for now. After you’ve read this, you’re probably sick and tired of my random tidbits, so please share your own! I’m interested in to seeing what you guys think when you look at something as powerful as the ocean. Does it scare you? Does it inspire you? Are you like me, and grow super philosophical? Or are you just hoping you won’t get a really bad sunburn?

(ALWAYS PUT ON SUNSCREEN!!!)

Thank you, my beautiful readers. You inspire me every day. ❤

Until next time,

-K.

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Hiding my face because I can lol (Orange Beach, Alabama // May 2019)

thoughts

2018 REFLECTION

2018 is coming to an end, and that means it’s time for a bit of self-reflection… So here are six major takeaways from this year!

1. Things Happen for a Reason

No matter if it’s a wildfire or a sudden inspiration to become a pilot, this year has taught me that things happen for a reason. This doesn’t mean things always work out in the way we want them to, but it does mean that there is typically a hidden layer to why and how the universe reveals itself to us.

2018 has become one of my most definitive years. At the beginning of 2018, I was boarding a plane to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I was a nervous wreck. Though I’d lived abroad for four months prior, Christmas at home made me realize how much I love my home country, the United States, and my family and friends here in Tennessee. I was pretty upset that I was going back to BA, but when I got there, things weren’t so bad after all.

I traveled to some of the most incredible places on the planet: Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of the world, and Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But this doesn’t mean that places are what make a person’s life: I truly strengthened some of my friendships, and this is key to why 2018 has been such a defining year in my life. (More on that to come.)

When I came back from Argentina, I challenged myself to write five novels over my summer break, and BAM! It was one of my most productive breaks, and my writing repertoire grew drastically. Time flies when you love what you’re doing, and… My heart learned to open up a little bit more.

In the summer of 2018, I started flying. As you guys know, I had a recent revelation to follow the flying path as my career, and I cannot be more excited for the future with this. It has become one of my favorite things to do, and a true blessing when I need to escape from normal college drama that occurs at my school in California.

In the fall, I moved back to Los Angeles, where I became a college student once more. School was pretty easy, but the reason I love college so much is because of my friends, who have made my world go round for the past few years. I love them so much, and it will kill me when I graduate early (this will be part of a good 2019 Resolutions post) and fly on home to Tennessee permanently.

We went to Yosemite in October, survived a wildfire in November, and prayed our way through December. I almost missed my flight (saved by only two minutes) home for Christmas, recently got over food poisoning, and am waiting for what’s coming next. At this point, I’m ready for just about anything–and that’s what makes life so exciting.

I can already see how things have a definite purpose in the way they work out. If I had started flying at sixteen or seventeen, I would not have ended up going to California for college, and therefore I would not have met the people who have been truly inspiring to me for the past few years. I would not have gone to Argentina, which taught me to appreciate my home even more, and I would always think, What if I’d just…

But we can’t always think like this. We have to remember that things are going to happen like they were meant to happen, but we still must make decisions in response to the choices we face. Which leads me into the next point…

2. Plan Accordingly

This year has taught me that things will happen, and you just have to adapt to whatever is hurled your way: But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for what will come.

Life is never guaranteed, and so it is imperative to be thankful for what you have. I am so guilty of this, expecting that things will go my way, but instead I’ve learned that having a back-up plan is always important.

3. People Are in Your Life for a Reason

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ROACHES!!! 🙂 (December 2018) Even, Maggie, me, Laiken, Matt

I love meeting people! Though I’m not the most extraverted, outgoing person in the room (that would be my one-of-a-kind Momma J), I have found that people are what make life worth living, and each person has a story no one else can tell.

Over the past few years, I have really learned to appreciate getting to know people. As a storyteller, I find inspiration in diving into people’s personalities and what makes them tic. I want to know why people are the way they are, how they came to be that way, and if it’s possible that people can change.

Here is something I’d like you to think about: Pick one person in your life, somebody you have met in the past year or two. You didn’t know that person before, didn’t even know they existed! But now, on the other hand, you know all about this person. You know the intricacies of their personality; you know their history, their backstory; you can’t imagine life without them in it.

And just think… What if you hadn’t met this person? What if you didn’t get to know this person? What if you had met somebody else instead? Human connection is wild, and it’s incredible. Some people aren’t big into interaction, and others thrive off of it.

There are eight billion people (and counting!) on this planet. Don’t tell me that the people in my life aren’t here for a reason, that the souls I know now were just random specks of cosmic dust floating through the universe.

When I was eight years old, my sister was born. I remember my mom being pregnant with her, and I remember watching her grow. I was there for the ultrasounds, I felt her kick against my mom’s stomach. I held her newborn body, and I’ve watched her turn into the beautiful young woman she is today.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was in third grade, I switched schools. Growing up, and now even, I was never a big fan of school. I loved to learn, but the social side of things always got under my skin. Kids can be so mean, and I have always loved peaceful, calm locations. School just ain’t that way. But I met two of my best friends there, two people who have been in my life for  ten-plus years now. In the spring of 2020, I will be in one’s wedding.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was eighteen, I got in my car, drove across the country, and settled into college a thousand miles away from home. I’d received a friend request on Facebook from one girl who was going to be my suitemate, and I was excited to meet her. When I finally did, I learned she was from Wisconsin (cheese, my favorite food), had a mouthful of a last name (Miss Givenchy), and wanted to go to Argentina (me too, lol). Flash forward a little bit: Chica became my best friend, roommate, and ultimate pusher of the buttons.

People are in our lives for a reason.

By the time I was nineteen (last year), I was on a plane to Argentina. I knew a few people, including my best friend, but was pretty nervous for the rest of the seventy-plus group also going abroad with my college. But God provides: My friendship with Maggie only grew, and we made an incredible batch of friends in our first semester: Even, Chase, Hannah, and Laiken, to name a few. Hannah and Chase left after one semester, and our friend group shifted. But then, out of nowhere, a chico named Matt appeared for second semester. The Roaches were born, and they scuttle always. 😉

People are in our lives for a reason.

I cannot imagine my life without the aforementioned people. I cannot imagine life without my family, both in Tennessee and West Virginia. I’m a realist, and I know friendships change, and I know that I haven’t met so many people who will make my world in the future (future husband, where you at?), but for now, I am so thankful and blessed by the people here today.

4.  Be Realistic (and Dream Once in a While)

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Malibu, California (December 2018)

A dreamer burned into a realist.

When I was eighteen, I thought I’d move to Los Angeles, strike it rich as a writer, and never have to pay taxes. Oh, how things change. At twenty-one, I expect to move home after graduation, become a full-up pilot, write as much as I do now, and one day get discovered (for my writing, that is). I’ll pay Tennessee taxes, marry a good-hearted church boy, and have beautiful children.

It is important to incorporate reality into dreams.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Flying over LAX (November 30, 2018)

A big part of why I didn’t start flying sooner was because I was afraid. Looking back, I laugh. Fear keeps us from so many things, and it is crucial to overcome this. If we wallow in our fear, nothing can be accomplished.

The more we step out of our comfort zone, the more we will feel comfortable trying new things. I’ll admit that I’m not the riskiest person when it comes to trying new items on the menu. For example, I’m not a fan of fish, or anything that comes from the sea, river, lake, etc. (I can attribute some of this to one summer, when a kid chased me around with a cooked crawdad.) But I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t sit down and try it.

2018 has taught me to step out of my comfort zone. Travel South America? Check. Learn to fly a plane? We’re getting there.

Maybe there’s something you want to do. Maybe you’ve wanted to do it forever, and maybe it’s a recent goal. You’ve got nerves, you’ve got jitters, you’ve got insert whatever lie you’re telling yourself. Get out there and go for it! Pursue that dream, as long as you’re realistic. 😉

6. Be Yourself

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Do people change? This has been a constant question I’ve had for years, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Growing up, I was pretty quiet. I was a good listener, had close friendships, and wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of dodge. Though I’ve retained most of who I was, the high school version of myself was pretty different than the Katie of today. I’m still the same person who prefers writing to just about anything else, but the Katie of yesterday wouldn’t be as interested in digging into people’s hearts.

And sometimes, growth comes with a case of heartache, because you have to adjust to the new you, so to speak.

But once you find yourself, stay true to who you are (however cheesy and cliche this might sound). There really is no other you out there, and you have so many contributions to society to make. Here are some examples of this:

  1. Speak your mind, in a respectful way. In 2018, I learned this the hard way, when a woman confronted my friends and me in the airport over our political beliefs. Fun times!
  2. If people don’t like you, so what? Some personalities just don’t melt, and you can’t make people fall head over heels for you. People should want to be near you, just because you are who you are!
  3. Don’t be afraid to do what you love. For me, when I’m in my writing zone, nothing else matters. Though I hate writing in public, sometimes you just have to go for it.

YOUR REFLECTION.

I hope this year brought you nothing but happiness and excitement, but if we’re being realistic, I’m sure you went through your fair share of ups and downs. You probably had good months, bad months, and lukewarm months.

It’s your turn to reflect. What are some of the lessons you learned this year? Maybe they’re tough, but I’m sure they are important. Don’t forget to listen to what you’ve learned, or you’ll just end up making the same mistakes over and over again.

2019 is just around the corner, so be sure to get ready for your New Year’s Resolutions (expect a post on that subject soon). 🙂

Until next time,

-A reflective K.