I live in Hobart Indiana, where all of the shops along Main Street pasted homemade paper banners onto windows when the high school football team went to State last fall. True, Hobart likes its football, but we also love Lake George, the Fourth of July, and small acts of kindness that feel bigger.
Since the COVID 19 quarantine, I’ve been working from home. I'm a teacher at a community college. Everyday, I am up and online during my scheduled classes. I answer messages, grade papers, create videos and interactive materials for my students. When my work day ends, I cook dinner, play video games, read facts about Druids for a correspondence course I am taking, and try not to fall apart.
I knew I loved writing when I had to read a paragraph to my class when I was in high school. It wasn't a good paragraph. I don't even remember the content. I just remember the image in my head of the feelings I tried to describe. Putting an image on paper through words became important to me at that moment. Much later, I let myself write poetry and a desire to write manifested.
It’s difficult for me to identify themes in my poetry. I find that my mind is a fractured place sometimes. There are corners for my favorite things. There are nooks for things that I tried once and hated. And the same is true for my poetry. I have a few poems on magical themes, some describing life in the Midwest, others are notes written to famous poets, and quite a few are in persona. I like the persona ones best--they feel like armor.
Inspiration is everywhere. I saw a grandparent hold a toddler on his knee the other day, and I wrote about that. Sometimes it is a line from a song that begs me to add to it. Often, I find most inspiration, though, in the work of those I admire. Reading is the hardest part of writing. I see so much that I wish I had created. It gives me the desire to make myself better.
When it comes to music that’s propelled my creativity, U2 is my band. U2's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience albums are becoming ones I go back to even when I didn't love them at first. The Unforgettable Fire, however, is my ultimate favorite. I think seeing a band live changes your life. Do it! I'm a veteran of 17 U2 live shows, and I can say I'm proud of that!
The only way to break out of a writing slump is to write. It can feel like a slog through swamp water, but it is a necessary journey. Writing is hard work, and we have to treat it as work. Sometimes it just needs to be done.
I realized how powerful my creativity is when I once wrote a poem as a gift, and it became my first publication, I was humbled. I had no idea that was even possible. Later, I had a poem in Great Lakes Review. That was hard for me to comprehend, and then I was told my poem would appear in the best of the Midwest collection that year! It was more than I could have ever wanted.
At the end of my days, I would like to be known as a human being who tried her best.
My name is Carey Millsap-Spears. I’m a teacher and writer based in Hobart. I love my family, Star Trek, Gothic tales, and horses.
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