By Grace Yu & Sarah McNaughton
This is a collection of haikus written between January 10 and January 23 that captures our combined experiences.
JANUARY 10, 2021: Sad sunflowers When trying to write don’t be afraid to wander lost thoughts sunflowers. (“I don’t usually give in to peer pressure, but I’ll give in to yours”) Mom says my uncle’s alcoholism has won again. I’m so sad. JANUARY 11, 2021: Glorious purrs Bach is reverent while I do my math homework: products glorious. Cat’s extra cuddly. Although he still bites sometimes, those purrs are worth it. JANUARY 12, 2021: Bloodshot country No sleep, eyes bloodshot chemistry test tomorrow hope I can do well. We are all grieving a country that’s rarely been worth celebrating. JANUARY 13, 2021: Motivate joy How to motivate myself to write this essay that’s due on Friday? Don’t forget, dear girl, the simple joy of music while going for walks. JANUARY 14, 2021: Drowned wonder Amid constant noise my head is drowned under storms pray sunlight comes soon. I always wonder: Does anyone like group work? If so, who are they? JANUARY 15, 2021: Honest weekend My work is complete just music school tomorrow time for honest rest. A long weekend is a treasure we all deserve more often, I think. JANUARY 16, 2021: Melodious life The music erupts Hours upon hours silver chords melodious song. I am so grateful for where I’ve gotten these days. This life is all mine. JANUARY 17, 2021: Late iron Late to my concert thanks to tech problems. At least I watched some Marvel. So tired lately. Wait—did I take my iron? Well, that’d do it. JANUARY 18, 2021: Freedom power Thank God for Martin Luther King Day: no school, just honoring freedom. When an email from an abusive ex comes in, don’t give him power. JANUARY 19, 2021: Worth heartbreak It’s probably bad that I take so many naps. Oh well. It’s worth it. Buoyed and hopeful by those around me… I try. But I fear heartbreak. JANUARY 20, 2021: Don’t hit rock bottom Procrastination is an art. Don’t try telling me otherwise. Don’t. Cautiously happy. The country’s hit rock bottom— it’s time to ascend. JANUARY 21, 2021: Fly out I have a feeling that I’ll be staying up late. Thoughts fly clear at night. I should go out more. I really miss the mountains. A hike would be nice. JANUARY 22, 2021: Closer hope The midterm exams loom closer: a poor way to end the semester. What will things be like five years from now, I wonder? Hope for joy, not fear. JANUARY 23, 2021: Teenager secrets This is the reason why I go to music school. Earn music secrets. Recalling my words written as a teenager: It can be so tough.
For 14 days, we both wrote haikus that summed up our experiences each day. Then, we combined words from both of our haikus to create a new free-verse poem into a design that merged our individual thoughts and feelings.
Grace Yu is a student at a high school in Manhattan, NY. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing music and making origami. She has been published in Taking Our Place in History: The Girls Write Now 2020 Anthology, as well as her school’s art and literature magazines. She received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for Personal Essay/Memoir.
Originally from Denver, Sarah now lives and works in New York City as Executive Editor at LIVESTRONG.com. She’s spent most of her career in digital media focusing on health journalism, and is passionate about providing accurate, trustworthy and easy-to-understand health information to all people. Sarah received her master’s degree in magazine journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and both of her bachelor’s degrees in news/editorial journalism and magazine journalism from the University of Oregon. When she’s not working or mentoring, Sarah’s usually reading or laughing with her husband David and pet cat named Cricket.