In between working on my latest work-in-progress: a YA time-travel story, as well as reflecting on the time travel that happened at the end of The Upperworld Series, I’ve been thinking lately a lot about time. Time is a funny thing – it’s limiting, goes by too fast, and can cause a lot of regret and anxiety if not spent well. And as graduation looms closer and closer for me, I’m just thinking a lot about the uncertainty of my own future, and how equal parts scary and exciting it is to currently have no plans. To have a fresh start away from everything that I’ve been doing up until now. It’s just… a lot. I’ve also been having trouble fitting in time to work on my latest book. It’s happening, just a bit slower than I usually would like. But I’m trying to make peace with that and remind myself that I can only do what I can do, and that’s totally okay.
So in this reflective mood, I wanted to share a very powerful poem with you that I had the pleasure of hearing during Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour. I had never thought hearing poetry at a pop concert would be a thing, but it was, and it has stuck with me since I had the pleasure of attending the show back in July. Taylor wrote this poem to her fans to give a little insight, perhaps, as to why this album took longer (a full 3 years) to complete, which was a whole year longer than her usual 2-year cycles. Without further ado, here’s Why She Disappeared:
When she fell, she fell apart.
Cracked her bones on the pavement she once decorated
as a child with sidewalk chalk
When she crashed, her clothes disintegrated and blew away
with the winds that took all of her fair-weather friends
When she looked around, her skin was spattered with ink
forming the words of a thousand voices
Echoes she heard even in her sleep:
“Whatever you say, it is not right.”
“Whatever you do, it is not enough.”
“Your kindness is fake.”
“Your pain is manipulative.”
When she lay there on the ground,
She dreamed of time machines and revenge
and a love that was really something,
Not just the idea of something.
When she finally rose, she rose slowly
Avoiding old haunts and sidestepping shiny pennies
Wary of phone calls and promises,
Charmers, dandies and get-love-quick-schemes
When she stood, she stood with a desolate knowingness
Waded out into the dark, wild ocean up to her neck
Bathed in her brokenness
Said a prayer of gratitude for each chink in the armor
she never knew she needed
Standing broad-shouldered next to her
was a love that was really something,
not just the idea of something.
When she turned to go home,
She heard the echoes of new words
“May your heart remain breakable
But never by the same hand twice”
And even louder:
“without your past,
you could never have arrived-
so wondrously and brutally,
By design or some violent, exquisite happenstance
And in the death of her reputation,
She felt truly alive.
I personally relate to this poem so much, because it shows the way that life can be so difficult, and how the passage of time can bring both healing and suffering. As I’m approaching my own very big leap into the real world, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and how inspirational it is to see that someone can relate to what I’ve been feeling (even though I don’t know Taylor Swift personally).
As I continue work on my YA time-travel story and reflect on the completed trilogy of The Upperworld Series, these words offer me some comfort and hope they will for you too. After all, time is what you make of it, and although time shouldn’t be wasted, it’s important to live life without fear and without regret. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to have a time machine like Evander and Griffin in The Rise of Onyx, or an uncle who can build one for them like Vera Lynn Bartlett (she’s my protagonist for my time-travel story, btw. Stay tuned for updates on that as the story unfolds!).
Angelina Singer Author
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