Hi, friends! It’s been awhile since my last update. I don’t really have any news to report on the writing front, besides all the stories and poems I have out on submission waiting for responses. I should have a tiny story published at some point this year, and I’m still waiting to hear about a poem that was accepted last year. Publishing can be like that sometimes, and after the whirlwind of stories sold and published in 2022, I need to remember to be patient.

One thing I’ve been enjoying lately is just to get my words down in some poem-shaped thing, either while outside a café writing longhand or tinkering in a Word Doc on my computer. We’ve had a busy few months with the end of the school year and my youngest graduating sixth grade. All the busyness of the season made me pause enough yesterday to really analyze how I’ve been functioning through the overwhelm. And from that pause, I created a poem known as a “concrete poem” or a “shape poem.” I love it when writers write text that “fits its container,” so to speak, and I wanted to see if I could do it, too. This poem, with its run on sentences and lack of punctuation, feels like what anxiety might look like in visual form, and that’s really the only content warning I think it needs.

I Need to Switch to LEDs

There’s a lightbulb in a space upstairs
That flickers and blinks at the end of its life
And I would change it but I need to remember that
One kid has a test this week one kid has an appointment
I have an appointment or two or more my spouse is working
Late again what am I going to do about dinner what are we going
To do about the summer oh and there’s a permission slip that needs
To be signed and someone needs money for something somewhere and
The dishes need washed the laundry needs switched the floors need swept
Swept the dog needs walked the lawn needs mowed the laundry needs folded the mortgage needs paid the credit card bills are due the utility bill came
The weather is supposed to be warm so make sure the kids have shorts there’s a gift I need to buy for a birthday party wedding shower anniversary party
Holiday party someone needs picked up from school or someone needs to
be dropped off somewhere or someone needs to go to therapy or I need
to go to therapy or I should spend time with my spouse or my friends
or what is that is that a new mole or is that a gray hair is that a
period cramp is that another rejection in my inbox is my
back going out again did my heart just skip a beat or is
it something else I should make an appointment
with my dermatologist gynecologist internist all the-ists are my kids okay
are my friends okay
is my spouse okay
am I okay is the
world okay
is it

The stoplight turns green and the lightbulb upstairs
Burns bright enough to remind me to drive on

That’s all I have for now. The summer is about to start for my kids, and it will be a busy one for all of us with some moments of downtime here and there. I hope you all have a fantastic May, and I hope you’re able to take some time to pause and breathe and enjoy it.

As, always, thanks for reading.

A. Cook

Amanda Cook is a writer and stay at home mom who lives in a southern Indiana woods with her spouse, kids, and one clingy dog. In the Before Times (and sometimes even now), she could/can be found helping out with her kids' school, catching up on her toppling TBR pile, playing games with her friends, hanging out at virtual conventions, crying over period dramas, or sewing yet another cosplay. Her second novel, "When We Were Forgotten," was the winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book from the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. She writes short speculative fiction and poetry that can be found at various markets and here on her blog.

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