Shannon Mastromonico is a recently added contributor to A Cornered Gurland is a powerhouse of talent. With the ability to visually capture her poems and prose with her own art, she brings something extremely different to our publication. Her words are sharp, vulnerable, and edgy with a hint of “matter-of-factness” to them. I am happy to present to each of you our Featured Writer for the month of March, Shannon Mastromonico with her debut poem:
Until Planets Move
This marks new ground
is a pain plateau. Going
through too many dark forests
foraging for peace. Lost
Until planets move
and color shifts
Respite by chance
of wandering stars
and moon dips
Hello, beautiful people! It is a new month and a lovely new day and we are moving right along here in ACG. There have been a few changes and will be a few more throughout the year. I will share a couple of those changes with you at the end of this letter. Thus far, the year has been great here for our small community. We are nearing the 1200th mark for followers and we are also making our way extremely close to the 200th mark for contributors. A Cornered Gurl is growing and this pleases me greatly. I wish I could express how happy it makes me to be able to work with an amazing group of people, grow with them, and be able to encourage one another regarding our craft.
We kicked off 2020 the right way with an awesome challenge focused on an invigorating and solid poetic form: the nonet with a theme of “Nonet the Night.” The challenge took off swimmingly and I was happy to see so many people try their hand at it. Here are a few of those entries:
You can view the rest of those responses by checking out our “Community” tab.
We just ended the first Young Minds of Medium challenge for this year and as always, the young ones brought that fire, people. This past month’s theme was What Is Your Favorite Song & How Does It Inspire You? Music is an instant connector — it pulls us together more than it tears us apart. Every submission met the requirements and they were a joy to review and publish so as to share with all of you. Here are a few of those responses:
You can read the rest of those responses by clicking on our “Young Minds” tab.
Due to ACG’s steady growth, I find it important to work on ways to be able to get our contributors’ voices out to the masses. Yes, Medium is one avenue and I also mention and feature writers via the ACG website, however, social media is a demanding force and many people flock to one of the big three in order to get their gossip, good reads, and fellowship fix. I have selected Twitter for A Cornered Gurl and we are now heading out of the dark ages and into a source of ever-evolving light. You can connect with and follow us at A Cornered Gurl. We hope to see you there.
ACG has been up and running as an all-inclusive writer publication for one year and almost two months and nearly up for three years prior to making that change on January 5, 2019. With this in mind, I have decided to make it a point to publish a literary magazine each Spring which will be comprised of ten-fourteen selected writers’ work, included a few of my own as well. This Spring’s issue is nearly done and is entitled: QUINTESSENCE: A Literary Magazine of Featured Medium Writers. I look forward to sharing its essence with each of you when it is complete.
Sara is an incredible young one and has been along this ride in A Cornered Gurlsince I made the announcement to open it up to all Writers on Medium this past January. She is also a Young Mind of Medium and she and I have collaborated over the last three years on three projects and with each piece, I learn a bit more from her. To answer July’s challenge, Sara shared a letter she wrote for her boss who would be leaving her place of work to experience new endeavors. He was her inspiration.
In Goodbye (Well, Technically), Sara shows exactly why it is important to let those who inspire us know it. She shares her heart and she does it without being overly emotional. She is incredibly sound in her work and this is an indicator of that. And here, we have it–the reason for her feature:
Goodbye (Well, Technically) Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call
The greatest boss I will ever know has left. Here’s to you, boss.
Hey (well, now former) Boss,
I didn’t say much when you dropped the bomb that you were leaving, but I know that what I’m thinking and writing deserves some sunlight.
When you said you didn’t want to put our jobs in jeopardy I understood how much of a role model you’ve been to me. I may not understand the entirety of the drama you were involved in, but I have an understanding of the sacrifices you made for your family and us. I have always trusted that you would make the right decisions for yourself, and that trust hasn’t faltered.
Since you’re no longer a constant factor at work, there are some secrets and “thank you’s” I would love to disclose. For starters, during my interview, I faked all of it. I had tried to look up some potential interview questions that would have done better elsewhere, but I magically came up with answers, like in an SAT-pick-the-best-option kind of way, and prayed that they were the ones you were hoping for. I was super lucky and started working the next week.
Hilariously enough, I never thought I would end up in childcare; I used to think that I would never want to work with kids. The only reason I applied to work here was because I didn’t want to work in a bank, which was what my mom had suggested since she made the same move as a young adult. Now that I want to stay for as long as possible, I realize how wrong I was about kids. So as my first “thank you”, thank you for giving me a chance. I definitely don’t think I made the strongest first impression, but you were still willing to take me in, and now I realize I’m better at talking to kids more than adults.
I haven’t turned into my mom in a lot of ways, but when it comes to working through conflicts I have only seen my mom yell so I came into this job with the same tactic. However, I’ve always known that I don’t want to be that way. After seeing you work your magic, your modeling has meant everything to me, and I continually impress myself with how much I’ve improved at talking. Thank you for pulling me out of that rut and for showing me what communication should look like.
Of course, my next “thank you” goes to last year, and I know you know what I’m talking about. I don’t think I ever thanked you properly for helping me keep my head above water, and that was wrong of me. I admit that at some point I contemplated quitting because dealing with the stress was like trying to contain a tsunami in a container, and the uncertainty of how long it would last was an overwhelming thought. It was a test of our emotional resilience and we both came out on top. Thank you for believing me even when I didn’t believe myself. Thank you for being there, for listening, and thank you for staying. I had a small idea of what you were dealing with on your end, and I’m sorry you had to deal with it, too. But seriously, thank you . . . Just thank you.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had and heard a lot of thoughts on everything that has happened and despite it all, I am positive that you will find something else in which to excel. There is a legacy you’ve stamped on this place and none of us want to erase it. It will be impossible not to compare the new director to you; the new guy has impossible shoes to fill. Thank you for working with us, for sticking it out as long as you did. For you, we will remain resilient.
Finally, there’s something else you’ve said that I have remembered: if you could sleep at night, then you knew you made the right decision. I’ve decided if you can sleep at night, then so can I.
Thank you for always reminding us that we’re the ones with the ball in our court, I wish you the best of luck in everything!
He is a recently added contributor to A Cornered Gurlvia Mediumand as far as I can tell, he uses his words wisely. Innovative and unique, Roy brings something to the publication that I am quite happy to see. Of African descent, he weaves a bit of his culture into his words as well and learning bits and pieces about his world is intriguing and knowledgable too. His poem, Mrs. Middle Lane struck me as incredibly sound, well-written, and a mind-bender. It is worth every second of the readers’ eyes. And now, the feature:
Mrs. Middle Lane
Somewhere between left and right,
there’s space for her. Perhaps just a thin line of imbalance,
but that’s fine; she maintains her stand.
She’s neither black nor white.
Not that she’s confused. Wisdom indeed sits in her matter.
She wears neutrality to blend with every colour,
yet her tones never match any other’s. She’s grey. She’s singular.
She doesn’t have your back, she doesn’t stab it. She won’t turn you on, she won’t turn you down either.
She understands you, but doesn’t stand with you. She won’t bring you down, she won’t raise you up.
She runs in between.
Sometimes there is only so much she can care about. Sometimes she chooses to not choose.
She sees you on one side, your opponent on the other. She sees where everyone is coming from.
But she would follow no one to where they’re leading. She doesn’t take sides, she’s faithful to Middle.
She’s Mrs. Middle Lane.
An advocate for mental health, disability, and chronic illness–she pens her words carefully but manages to add so much strength to them too. She is an active contributor to A Cornered Gurl and is giving our little community lessons in life through words. The poem that I have selected to feature is entitled, “Lines On My Body.” It is an amazing flow of words and ends solidly too. Everything about it makes me happy to be a writer of the genre, poetry. And now, “Lines On My Body.”
Lines On My Body
I want these lines on my body
showing my journey,
expressing my womanhood–
bold patterns of identity
from a feminine hand.
But there is part of me
that shouts don’t do it!
No man will touch you– (not this man but maybe the next). No job will have you– (not this job but maybe others).
So, perhaps, like that poem about
the old lady wearing green shoes
(or was it purple? or red?)
because she finally felt free
to do so — perhaps, like her, I’ll
finally cover myself in the beautiful
images of my life when I’m sixty;
when I don’t need to care about
the bank manager anymore, or
the boyfriend. Maybe then I can say:
I don’t have a photo album or
a Facebook page — don’t need it. It’s all on me. Part of me. Come.