Tag Archives: kellie elmore magic in the backyard

Her community holds onto each other like beads on the same handmade necklace.

Kellie Elmore from Magic In The Backyard

In under ten minutes, Kellie will see right through your big excuses. She will write you a list of reasons why you should Just Do It, whatever It is.

I found Kellie on Google: the e-Harmony for the knowledge-seekers of the world, the Match.com for the Constant Questioners.

I was looking for a challenge. Literally. I wanted some sort of 30-day writing project to fuel my blog posts. And I found Kellie’s blog and she found me and that’s all it took.

She saw this girl who probably said too many words, Taylor Swift style, for the rest of the internet to read. Too many open letters to people I loved and people who drove me crazy. People I wanted to know better.

In April, for National Poetry Month, Kellie encouraged me to write poems. I wasn’t sure. Before that, I’d had an aversion to poetry writing. But she has been my biggest motivator in that endeavor.

Everyone needs a push. Sometimes a giant shove. Other times a soft nudge. Most often a good kick in the butt.

She says a few words, tells me to stop doubting that voice inside my head that wants to jump into a new project, and I am already pulling a fresh piece of paper out of my notebook to dribble words around like basketballs.

That’s Kellie. She builds a community, a virtual fireplace, just through her conviction that this world will let you do whatever you’re aching to do. Whatever story you want to tell. Whatever method you’re using to tell it.

It’s called Magic In The Backyard. As if we are all sitting outside on a porch swing or around a whicker table sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade and laughing about the old days when our hair grew down to our butts and our fingers were never able to touch the sky.

We are all holding onto each other like beads on the same handmade necklace, hoping we can wrap ourselves around a neck. Drape like pearls on a silky shirt. Hoping we have enough shine to make someone staring through the glass countertop to pick us. Love us. Take us home.

Each week, she gives her community the ammunition to fire a round into the latest tough battle. She gives us the tools to carve a new space in the Writers’ World. A new prompt to keep up tap tap tapping on our keyboards somewhere six hours North of her home. Somewhere unsure and slightly frazzled and probably too busy but making time for Kellie’s encouragement to stick in our brains once more.

[Day 1: Hannah Brencher]
[Day 2: Katie Colihan]
[Day 3: Tehrene Firman]
[Day 4: Emily Dubin]
[Day 5: Kerry DeVito]

And girl, you're going so far.

Just to be clear, I am 16 or 17 here. Not 13. I may've burned all those photos.

Dear thirteen-year-old Me,

Thursday night I knocked on Brooke’s door and just started crying. And not the wiping-a-few-stray-tears-away kind, either. I’m talking full-on can’t speak crying.

Some things, my dear, will never change.

Brooke told me something pretty radical, something I still don’t quite believe, to make me feel better. She said I’d been through a lot more than most of the girls in this town. Like the two standing outside my neighbor’s house Saturday night, shrieking, the green strobe lights pulsating into our street.

She told me that and I shook my head, because of course it wasn’t true. The more I see of the world, the more the scale tips toward heartbreak. There’s just a sea full of brokenness rolling between Us and Them.

Kellie’s challenge made me think of the thirteen-year-old girl locked deep inside of me, still reeling from the pain she put herself through.

I know you’re awkward. And I mean, everyone says that when they’re thirteen, but it’s about sixteen times truer for you. I don’t know how you got out of bed at six in the morning and watched Fresh Prince reruns with syrup-drowned waffles and didn’t just want to go comatose.

By then, though, you’d already sworn off school for once. You figured you might as well go back again. I know. I understand.

You lied about a lot of things. I know you didn’t want to, but you felt like you had to. And that’s true for a lot of us, but sooner or later the truth has to free you. I think, eventually, you learned that. You lied about things that, seven years later, you cannot even dare to speak out loud. That’s how ashamed you are.

You lied about things you’re unable to write about; and that’s a big deal, because let me tell you that all your little stunts, all your little mishaps will find themselves again on the page. Even the ones that ended you in hospital beds. Even the ones that threatened, at times, to yank your bedcovers off you and take you right from this earth.

Don’t lie so much for so long, OK?

It’ll be eight years in December, but I can still see you standing barefoot on that cold blue tile floor, sure that something bad was about to happen. You didn’t know it already happened. You didn’t know that it could take three days to find the right kind of tears for a funeral you never anticipated. You didn’t know how to heal.

And so you gave up. It wasn’t your first funeral, nor was it your last, but you had seen enough.

Now, you look at death and see it backwards, each person falling closer and closer to birth. 57, 40, 17. You pray it starts going back up again. You pray your next funeral might not be for a 3-year-old, but a 98-year-old.

Mostly, you pray life at thirteen is more complicated than life at twenty-two. Guess what? It’s not.

But you’re fine. Obviously, you’re more than fine. You still laugh nine out of ten days and you still look more or less the same. You still know how to hold your chin up, even if those other girls in town don’t.

And girl, you’re going so far. You don’t even know it yet, but you are.

This world, your life, your mind is a magical place.

Your future self