In the Spotlight


“Spotlight” by Tilemahos Efthimiadis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

You know the dream. Everyone has it.

You’re back in high school, walking into a classroom full of your friends and peers, when you look down and realize you’re naked.

Your mind goes blank, and your face gets so hot that you feel as though there’s a spotlight on you.

While everyone is staring.

Analysts say this common dream can be an indication that, among other things, you’re trying to be something you’re not. All writers know this feeling. It’s called imposter syndrome.

It happens when whether we’ve published one book or twenty. That gnawing fear that, despite our years of labor, tears and sweat, this book we’re sending out into the world for others to read and judge is no good. Even though we love it, our agent loves it, our publisher loves it and our friends who’ve read it love it. Even though we’ve poured our hearts into it.

I’m lucky enough to say that today, my publisher is the one shining a spotlight. Finishing Line Press is bringing attention to my forthcoming book of poems, Undressing the Heart, by featuring it on all their social media sites.

Perhaps it’s been a while since you had the dream. But I’ll be you still remember how you felt.

This is exactly what I’ve tried to capture in my poems. A scene, a story, and details enough to evoke emotion in the reader.

Today, my dream is that you’ll consider reserving a copy of my book, and experience the feelings I’ve tried to capture inside it.

Here’s a sample, a poem that was first published at Literary Mama. Thanks for reading!

–For Sarah

As a girl, you used to paint,
low on the walls in corners of your room,
tiny trees and flowers, undetected.

Soon boarding school called;
I was left to rearrange
the furniture, unearth your garden. We spoke

later; you laughed at the standoffs
that sparked those small
rebellions. Such colorful pictures

defiantly raised your young
psyche. Yet you haven’t outgrown
the consolation of such things:

now eighteen, home from school,
I hear you slip nights
into the bathroom — the one I can’t bear

to enter for the mess — and crouch
on the floor in the corner. Now
instead of producing, you peel

the paper. Flowers fall off
in little strips, leaving beneath,
bare blue walls.

I knew my body would
betray me as I aged, yet death
is not the mid-life crisis I’d expected.

But what I’m most sorry for
is what my illness does to us:
strips me by layers of physical strength,

peels you slowly in little
emotional strips until
all that’s left is bare and blue.

Yet you are the unlucky one:
soon my turn will come to go.
But you will remain and be forced

to rearrange, unable to speak
with me about things you may
happen to suddenly unearth.

2 thoughts on “In the Spotlight

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s