Stretching my Heart: Musings on Writing & Music

Lately, I’ve been kept awake at night with thoughts about how music and writing, songs & poetry – my life as both performer and writer, singer & poet – intersect. Also, how polar opposite they can be at times. How in both arts I’m constantly auditioning and re-auditioning, re-assessing, re-visioning – sometimes wondering why I do it. Especially at moments when I get (another) rejection, when I feel like family or friends don’t understand. When I’m just plain tired.

Passion. Love. A feeling in my bones that this is what I do best, this is what I was made for. That’s why I keep writing and singing.


Because nothing else fills the void, holds me fast and captures me – like an electricity running through me all the way past the tips of my fingers. A calm sea washing over me. Both can have the effect of becoming lost within the song or story on the page, far from my self. Digging deep into how my mind and body work to create sound and thought. Both can be solitary arts in practice, and intensely personal. When shared, they become full of public eyes and scrutiny, people telling what they liked or disliked, approving or rejecting your art. What is important is to get past the feeling of being rejected yourself.

But can you ever really separate your self from the art you create? There is a part of me inside each song I sing, poem and story I write – such is the risk we take as artists. It is also what makes it so fulfilling, that our songs and stories exist within ourselves and by sharing them, we are revealing our souls.

Can we separate our selves from our art? I still struggle with this, even after 20+ years of auditioning, performing, writing, editing, revising…the process is never-ending.
And so is my heart, stretched across each word, each breath, each noun phrase and legato line. With every poem and song I release a part of my self, my soul – hoping it shimmers with light. Willing it to be beautiful, to be meaningful, to be true.

Copyright September 18, 2017 Stacie Eirich 

Originally posted June 10 2016  


Poetry Collection Review: Leave This Song Behind

Leave This Song Behind, edited by John Meyer, Stephanie Meyer, Adam Halwitz & Cindy Spertner, is a poetry collection comprised of the best Teen Ink poems written in the last five years. Teen Ink is a monthly poetry magazine which accepts submissions from young writers age 13-19 years old. Teen Ink also has a thriving web community ( with writer’s forums, workshops, contests and guides to summer & college programs.

Even before reading this collection of poems, I was applauding Teen Ink for supporting poetry and artistic expression for teenagers. It is through poetry that I began exploring the world around me as a teen, and arguably that is why poetry is still my first love as both a reader and writer today. To have the support of not only teachers, but others in our literary communities is crucial. Today, resources like Teen Ink are paving the way for new writers to explore writing in a myriad of ways.

The poetry in Leave This Song Behind is as varied as our cultural and musical histories, informed by the young writer’s plethora of life experiences in their short years. The collection is broken into sections based on different writing style or themes. Some are more sensory in nature than others, some pieces contain spare yet moving language, others make surprising connections – while still others tackle everyday subjects or objects in fresh ways. What all of the poems have in droves is emotion, and because they are written from the perspectives of teenagers, I wasn’t surprised. What other time of life is so filled with change and uncertainty, with both joy & sadness – fear & anticipation often felt in the same breath? Poetry is fueled by those who give voice to powerful emotions and life experiences, and so it is that teens can astonish us with how they craft words. And though their words may, in some cases, feel raw and un-revised – this is also, I think, at the heart of what contemporary poetry is today. It is rough around the edges, it is newly formed, and it is very diverse.

And perhaps that is the best reason to pick up this poetry collection. To read the writing of young people who took a risk and made their voices heard, adding their words to a rising cacophony of diverse voices around the world. Through the noise, if we listen, we can hear beautiful music that deserves to be played, along with rhyme, meter and metaphor that dance from the pages to form our hearts. Those hearts are filled with the poetry of our interconnected lives. And that is a beautiful thing.

*I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a great day. 🙂 -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

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