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How Poetic.

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Welcome back from Spring Break! We’re on to week 7: Poetry! Below are links to a few poets that I really like. Some are old/dead guys, and some are very much alive. I’ve also linked some poem databases, in case you don’t share my particular taste in poetry.

Happy Hunting!

Taylor Mali

e.e. cummings

Langston Hughes

Pablo Neruda

Robert Frost


Academy of American Poets 

Poetry Foundation-Browse Poets

In addition to these links, I’ve brought some of my poetry books for you to look through. Much like the links, they range from the classics (Robert Frost) to a little more wacky (Beat Poets and Paul Simon).

For your enjoyment, a poem that means a great deal to me (warning: it’s really sappy):

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

One life in one week

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If I found out that I only had one week left to live, I would probably spend the entire first day crying and being generally pitiful; I tend to make a big deal out of little things, and this is definitely a BIG thing.

I would like to think that after that first day, I would pull myself off the couch, turn off Netflix, replenish my supply of Kleenex, take a shower, and go on some adventures. Of course, I would spend as much time with friends and family as possible. I would try to do the responsible adult things of making sure everything in my will was in order and keeping my loved ones in the loop, but assuming that doesn’t take any longer than about a half a day, I would be on a plane with everyone I know and love as soon as possible.

There’s so much in the world I want to see and experience, but I don’t have enough money to do it all right now. I would ask my husband, parents, and best friends in the world to pick one 24-hour experience each so that I could experience all that they want to do with them. Then, I would spend my final hours at home with the people I love the most.

I don’t need a fancy life, but I do have an insatiable wanderlust that I’d like to fill as much as possible. Knowing I’m about to go would help me justify packing up and leaving to see the world.



Incoming: Sappy Lyrics

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I think poetry has a bad reputation. Sorry to generalize here, but most students groan audibly at the idea of reading poetry in class, not to mention writing it themselves. What boggles my mind to no end is how much students loathe poetry, but can’t function in everyday situations without being plugged in to music. Because music just speaks to them. Guys, here’s a secret: music is poetry. Think about how much your favorite song lyrics mean to you. Now strip the lyrics away from the harmony and bam. Poetry. Now, to let you in on something about me: I’m a total sap. I love cheesy romantic movies, and I can’t get enough of heartfelt lyrics. Here’s one of my current favorites in the lyrics department:

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

But, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are

I love the honesty of this song. Love just pops up out of nowhere, and when you think about it, it’s pretty miraculous.

Say what you will about poetry, but you can’t read these lyrics and tell me that they mean nothing. Poetry is just sitting down and bleeding on paper. Whatever emotions arise. I hope that you give poetry a real chance during the next two weeks.

Blog prompt #3

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This prompt is due Tuesday, Nov. 25.


Write about a path you walk every day (i.e., from class to class, class to lunch, home to the bus stop, etc.) as if it’s in a Westfield City guide book. What should travelers notice or look out for while on this path?



Trimester 2

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Welcome to 2nd trimester! I’m excited to have you here in Creative Writing. I’ve already been impressed with your work, and I hope that you all continue to dive deep into this art form I am so passionate about. (Bah. I ended that sentence with a preposition. Big English teacher no-no.)

Here’s what you need to know about me:

– I LOVE teaching this class. I think I learned as much last trimester as my students did, which is always a sign of a great course.
– Of course, I love reading and writing. I read a quote once that said, “The man who reads lives a thousand lives. The man who doesn’t, but one.” I believe that with my entire soul. I also think the same is true for writing creatively.
– I love Purdue University, volleyball, my husband, my dog (The Clarkster), my cat (Catticus Finch), cucumbers, goat cheese (all cheese), peanut butter (creamy.), John Green (in a let’s-be-best-friends kind of way), Augustus Waters, and lots of other things
– This class requires a lot of work, but it’s the most fun work you’ll ever do in high school. Hopefully.
– If I tell you I’ll remember something but I don’t write it down, I’m lying. Make me write it down.
– I love Christmas and winter and snow and cold weather. If you don’t, that’s fine. We’ll just disagree about the outdoors all trimester.

That about sums it up. I can’t wait to get started writing, reading, and blogging with all of you!



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Hey kids,

I’ve been asked to list this trimester’s blogs, in case people are behind. Here ya go!

#1: Introduce yourself. What are your interests or hobbies?
#2: What are your biggest hopes, dreams, and fears?
#3: List some song/poem lyrics that mean a lot to you. Why are they so significant to you?
#4: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Why?
#5: (9/11 blog) What do you remember about 9/11/01? Why do you think it’s important that we “never forget”?
#6: React to the film Finding Forrester. What lessons did Jamal learn in the movie that you can apply to your own writing?
#7: What is the worst thing about being a teenager in today’s society?
#8:If you could have a dinner party with three people, who would you choose and why?
#9: (3 parts)
a. If you were stranded on a remote island with 4 things/people, who/what would you take with you and why?
b. Post one of the poems you’ve written for this class
c. Random post about anything that’s been on your mind recently
#10: Which is better: unicorns or dragons? Make your case.

Now get blogging!

Woman typing on a modern keyboard. White background.

Can’t Complain About Much These Days

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Like many other people, I have a deep connection with music. I may laugh at myself and refer to my music as “old lady, coffee shop” music, but the truth is, to me, folksier music just has better lyrics. That’s not to say that there’s never been a rapper with an actual soul, but something about an acoustic guitar couple with a slightly raspy voice just GETS me.

That said, neither of the songs I’m going to talk about are of the old-lady-in-a-coffee-shop-daydreaming-about-James-Taylor persuasion. They’re just songs that make me happy all the way down to my core.

“Young, Dumb, and In Love” by Mat Kearney

This song just makes my heart fly. (Warning: lovey-dovey anecdote coming) At my wedding, this is the song that played in the reception hall as my husband and I were introduced. I’ll spare you the sappiest of details, but the following just represents us perfectly:

baby you got me ten feet off the ground
i’m talking too much and you don’t make a sound
the prettiest face and those rockabye baby browns
all i’ve waited for’s come true
to be young and dumb and in love with you 

well under the weeping willows and a sea firing flies
with your gypsy necklace and my big brown bow tie
you kissed my lips like i was catching a flight
i said if i’m honest i fell for you that first night
if i’m honest i fell for you that first night

I truly hope that each of you gets the chance to feel a love like this. To be completely enthralled from day one, feeling like your whole world just makes sense in a way it just hasn’t before. Not that you NEED the person, but that you WANT him, and that you have the opportunity to have him.

Wow. That got sappy quick. Apologies. Here’s my second one:

“Be Okay” by Oh Honey

I adore this song because I think it just puts the world in perspective. Sure, sometimes things just suck. But it’s a bad day, not a bad life. This hippy happy song just makes me feel like there’s still some hope. That we’ll be okay.

Can’t complain about much these days, I believe we’ll be okay.
Can’t complain about much these days, I believe we’ll be okay.
We’re screaming out, I believe we’ll be okay.

Sun kissed skin on my lips.
Thank the Lord I am here and now, here and now.
Fireflies after dark.
Bless your soul, we are here and now, here and now.

I’m wide awake, so what’s the point of dreaming when your life is great?
Celebrate the feeling, celebrate the feeling.

Can’t complain about much these days, I believe we’ll be okay.

It just makes me appreciate the little things in life, like sun-kissed skin and fireflies. Guys. We’ll be okay.

Picking up what I’m putting down? Have a listen:

Young, Dumb, and In Love  (Mat Kearney)
Be Okay  (Oh Honey)

Hopes. Dreams. Fears.

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I can’t decide which of these is a harder topic to discuss. It has become apparent to me that, as we age, our hopes and dreams shift a little bit. Fears, on the other hand, tend to stay constant.

When I was in high school and college, my biggest dream was to become a famous author. I pictured myself drinking black coffee in an Adirondack chair on the porch of my New England summer house while cranking out my latest New York Times bestseller. I know. Totally cliche.

Now that I’m a little older, my dreams have become a little more general. I hope and dream of happiness. Of love. Of a life I’m proud of. That dream, my friends, has been accomplished.

Fears. Now there’s something people hate to disclose. In our fast-paced American lives, we’re supposed to be brave. Determined. Fearless. But everyone is afraid of something, right? I could go the surface route and tell you that I get fidgety around bugs I can’t identify, or that I faint in the presence of needles. But that’s not really what I’m asking, is it? I guess I’m a bit like my beloved Augustus Waters in that I fear oblivion. Not in a what-happens-to-us-after-we-die way, but in the I-just-want-to-make-a-difference-to-somebody way.

It’s funny, isn’t it? We make our own hopes and dreams, but our fears. Our fears make us.


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Welcome to Torvik’s Tabloid, my Creative Writing blog! This trimester, we will be blogging together in an effort to utilize multimedia writing more effectively. You will each have a blog for class, which you will update a minimum of twice a week (unless otherwise stated by me).

For your first entry, simply introduce yourself to the rest of the class. What are your hobbies and interests? Think favorite movies, TV shows, books, authors, bands, etc. Feel free to include pictures or artwork that represent you. Here’s my introduction to you to get you started!

I live with my husband, dog, and cat. My dog’s name is Clark, and he is a 6-year-old Treeing Walker Coonhound mix. My husband and I adopted him 5 years ago, and he’s been a part of the family from day one. His floppy ears and droopy eyes make it impossible to not love him immediately, and despite his nearly constant shedding, I can’t imagine our lives without him.

clark      Duke


Our cat, Duke, came to us about a year and a half ago. He’s another rescue, but I actually got him from my cousin; he liked to play with her dog, and when her dog unexpectedly died, Duke started being mean to her two older cats! Since I already had Clark, I figured the two would get along nicely, and I was right. Duke is a cat of many nicknames; my favorite for him is Catticus Finch, but Nate has a different name for him. When we were purchasing our house, Duke got nervous with all of the boxes and started using our apartment as one giant litterbox; ever since then, Nate has called him Wiz Kittifah. No matter what we’re calling him, he’s an entertaining cat who has fit into our home perfectly.

The last thing to know about me is how much I love WHS and its students. This past year, I started leading Young Life at WHS, and even had the opportunity to go to camp at Lake Champion in New York this past summer. It was an amazing week, and I can’t wait to keep hanging out with the awesome students at WHS more!

fd8 <—some ladies of Ferndale 8 at Lake Champion


I’m excited for our trimester together! I love to write, and hopefully you do too! Can’t wait to start reading your blogs and getting to know you each a little bit better. I promise not all posts will be as long as this one. 🙂