PW #333: Young Adult Contemporary (in verse): LOVE AND OTHER SHARP POINTY THINGS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Helene Dunbar and Beth Hull          
Mentee: Christy Goerzen
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Novel in Verse
Word Count: 33,000


Sixteen-year-old Mercedes dreams of proving herself to her famous sculptor mother by gaining acceptance to a prestigious art school. Faced with artist’s block, a new romance, and a devastating illness in the family, she must get in touch with her artistic identity and her heart to determine what truly matters most.


Art Class

Ms. Keyes sings my name
as she floats over to my desk.
her voice dropping to a low alto at the s.

She’ll give my hasty scribble
of a Converse sneaker an A,
she always does
(likely out of obligation),
barely looking at it.

“I saw your mother in the paper,” she says.
“Planning another exhibit, I see.”

After class, she beckons me to her desk
with a flick of her paint-covered hand.
“Have you reconsidered?”
she asks, opening her chaos of
a top desk drawer,
whisking papers around
with yellow and blue-stained fingers.
“The deadline is five months away.
There’s still time.”
“No,” I say, turning around and
gathering my books
before I can see the disappointment
sketched on her face.
It’s those looks,
the sad eyes,
the pity frowns,
that I can’t handle.
I’ve seen enough of those.

Ms. Keyes sighs.
I hear her drawer shut as I
walk out the door.


Talent Crush

The other kids have photos of singers and actors taped to their lockers:
guitars over shoulders,
tattoos on arms,
pouts on flawless faces.

But in my locker, there are photos of
seaweed and driftwood spirals,
one hundred snowballs cradled between two trees,
office chairs scattered like autumn leaves through a forest.

Environmental art
and large-scale sculpture.
This is what floats my boat
gets my knickers in a knot, turns me on,
makes fireworks explode
on the right side of my brain.
Even now.

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