Your French Needs Work by Kristina Pantalone

PicMonkey Collage

This week I’ve decided to post a few featured pieces that have been emailed to me, as I try to finish up the final stages of my book. Kristina’s story was incredibly familiar, and put my friend group in disbelief once I shared the email with them. The piece of writing that came with it was even better. I spent Saturday afternoon with her and our mutual friend Emily (who does a mean Chris Brown impression,) and because they’re both writers, I showed them two efforts of mine that aren’t making it to the web. The more I surround myself with like-minded individuals, the more grateful I become. This is just the beginning for Kristina. Ladies and Gentlebloggers, I give you “Your French Needs Work”

* * *

Think of the theatre when you think of Goffman,
She says, and the skeleton in my peripheral laughs,
Tickling her ribcage as it bubbles
Up and outward –her hidden
Injuries reflected in the shininess of his forehead as he grimaces the flu away
As well as the fluorescence

It’s half-past two when we talk about space
And the existence you exist in

It makes me wonder why everyone started wearing hats inside
-Flu season?
But the draft doesn’t explain why you only act human in your sleep.

Be kind, my father said to me
And my mother, not unkind,
Told me to let go or at the very least, be smart,
When letting go has always eluded my sensory perception

All my life, I try to listen
As I think, maybe I’ll get there one day

But broken hearts are serious things;
They splinter without precision,
Crack away at the meat of it
And bleed slowly out while you liquidate
The savings at the local bank

Your father waits for you in Nice
But I’ve always been patient, though tiny,
So not nearly heavy enough to keep
You on the ground

Cash? No, check, please, but please use lead
To carve the digits into me
Because I won’t spend it all in one place.

Shall we say bon nuit
Before I say goodbye?


Featured Writer of The Week: Diana W. Smith


Next to Stephen King, Diana is one of my favourite writers. I didn’t know of Diana’s God given talent until I stumbled upon one of her posts on tumblr and realized that it had over 200,000 notes. We’re having breakfast at Cora’s, and Diana’s enjoying Tumblr fame, and her crepe at the same time. Now I look forward to all of her posts, and constantly applaud her on her vulnerable, but incredibly brilliant pieces. During my hiatus, I knew immediately that Diana would have to come bring her wisdom to MyCompNotebook.

Here she is:

There are some things our parents fail to tell us in life, simply because we are meant to learn them on our own, in our own way. There are some things that happen to us that have no reason behind them, no explanation, no way to move forward. We are encouraged from an early age to try and try again to fumble for what we need and understand what we don’t, to fulfill our wishes but to accept that not everything will go as we’ve planned. We love and we lose and find ourselves shine in our darkest moments, and it is a summation of those moments that we should give ourselves a huge pat on the back for and finally smile back at ourselves in the mirror because we did it. We achieved something great by believing that we are capable of doing something even greater, whether it was finding the strength to pull ourselves out of bed this morning or winning as Oscar. But what about the moments that we’re too afraid of trying to fix? What about the things that seem impossible to overcome, the heartaches too embedded in our hearts to let go of, the lost friends and the feeling of giving up? What about when the smile on your face is too forced to convince even yourself that you’re doing okay anymore?

I have been blessed to have as encouraging and supportive of a friend in my life as Daniella Beca. Not only is she an incredibly talented writer who can light up the darkest room, she has supported my love for writing from my very first Tumblr posts and has been brave by showing her work to the world, even in times that it may have been a little bit scary. This one’s for you, Daniella, for me and my little fears of letting more than just internet surfers read through my work, and for anyone that needs a soulful little piece of writing to show them that it’s okay to be scared, because facing our fears inspires us to bring out the best in ourselves. Someday you’ll look back on the person you were too, and realize how much more you love the person you are now for the things you’ve been able to overcome.

You sat by the window every day painting pictures that made no sense to me and still I praised your work for all you had done and where you were going in life until one day I just realized that you were painting pictures of what was once you and I
A concoction of colour, an effortless vibrance
And all that was painted and left unsaid on canvas
Came through when you gave me that painting straight from your hands and said
“I’m just not sure I want to paint this picture anymore”
And I looked down at an empty canvas

you’re probably going to dance with another girl who will taste like fresh picked strawberries and smell like flowers blossom in her hair

and you’re probably going to choke down 5 shots of straight vodka and get the thought of me out of your head and focus on the girl dancing with you who wants to be your apple pie but you can’t see the diamonds in her eyes because you’re staring at the ones hanging around her neck and you can’t feel her pull you in closer because she’s reaching farther behind your head of dark hair and tapping shoulders of random guys she’s never even met

and when this happens I hope you run to the dingy bathroom and splash your face with dirty water and vomit up the words you never said because while you’re out drowning your heart in things I shouldn’t care about I’m here looking at the moon whispering how much I love you

and if you take her home I swear to God the moonlight will keep you awake no matter what time it is and you’ll watch it shine across your bedroom floor where we danced and laughed and I almost told you that you are my night sky

and I hope the light catches your attention more than the sight of her would and I hope when you wake up all your remember is that roses are my favourite scented flower and you can’t escape the light of the moon

He gave her a ring with the word ‘temporary’ engraved on the inside, and she asked him if this is how love always ends. He took her hand in his and said, “Nothing lasts forever, so why believe that love is any different?” And before he could blink, her tears turned her into a puddle that he quickly tried to collect in his hands, saving up any parts of her that he could manage, and in doing so he came to realize that in convincing himself that love doesn’t last forever he lost her even sooner than he’d expected.

There’s a soft spot in your heart for every person that left. Like the taste of an old cigarette, like the ache of coming across an old picture, like the cut on your hand that reminds you of falling apart on the bathroom floor. There’s a spot in your heart until there’s nothing left.

He’s going to stay awake however long it takes just to hear that you got home. He’s going to learn how your voice shakes when you’re sad and he’s going to ask you to tell him what happened. He’s going to fall asleep next to you and wake you up with a kiss on the cheek in the morning and he’s going to hold your gaze towards him when you’re crying about old memories that still hurt and he’s going to fall in love with you. Hold on to him as long as you can, for this is the one we wait forever for, but don’t squeeze too tight. The harder we hold on to the things that take time to grow, we only stop them from growing at all. He’s going to fall in love with you but just give him time, and when he does you’re going to know why you finally let love grow.

If we could go back and tell ourselves what we know now
1. Pain does not equate to love. If it hurts to pretend, you’re cheating yourself happiness by pretending, and you’ll wish you could take it all back but you never will.
2. You can’t be friends with someone who broke you 
3. You should’ve searched more to find what you were looking for
4. They say time heals all wounds so be careful with the ones etched too deep in your skin
5. One day you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin. Maybe not a bubbling confidence, but you’ll feel it some day.
6. The past might scare us so much that we live always looking behind our shoulder, waiting for the next problem to come up. We do so hoping that the things that scared us never catch up to us. And they never do. They spring up on the ones who didn’t learn from it, and need another lesson.  
7. We think drinking will help us forget but it only produces great writing material and nostalgic regrets
8. We try our best to forget our old selves but like a tiny scar from the night you fell apart or a ticket from the train ride that changed everything, the things that made us feel the most, good or bad, will always be with us.
9. They say people don’t change, but if we grow up and grow apart, is anyone to blame? Learn from the people in your life that give you a good reason to remember them, and if you are to go your separate ways, don’t beat yourself up for it. Things change, and we can’t stop those changes. But we can control who and what changes us.
10. Just tell yourself that it doesn’t matter because once it matters, you’re in too deep. Just let it go. Keep letting it go until it just doesn’t matter. That way, if you lose it, it won’t hurt so much. Let it go until it’s yours to keep. Don’t forget to breathe.

Sincerest regards,

Diana Whistance-Smith


“Cold Please” by Beth Hallows


Once again, I am privileged enough to have Beth Hallows as a featured writer. When I read her piece, I immediately resonated with it.
Because it sounded a lot like me a year ago. We have these internal monologues with ourselves, where we’re completely against the idea of our hearts jumping into something again, because we’re so used to being alone and so conditioned to think that because we’re so young, this may not last.

Sometimes it does, even if it’s for a few months, and that’s good enough.
But other times, we deeply invest ourselves into individuals only to be let down.
Take everything as a lesson, and don’t carry resentment with you everywhere you go.
It’s a heavy burden.

Huge thank you to Beth for writing this.
In two weeks time, we’ll be on the road to #Clean together.
I can’t wait to show you all that I’ve learned and come across during my hiatus.
But until then ladies and Gentlemen, Beth Hallows.

* * *

Cold Please

Do not be that person who gets my hopes up.

Do not be that person who finally melts this frozen heart.

I’ve been happily living a life of emptiness- that of which you may have never known.

I don’t mind being the third wheel, I don’t mind hearing about a lovely date, because I am happy not having to worry about texting back; wondering why he is mad at me because I said something wrong?

I enjoy the stillness; I enjoy the cold. I don’t want that heat brought near me at all.

But suddenly, there’s a knocking at the door and everyone is screaming at me to let them in.

They are selling me his characteristics. They are selling me his charm.

They are saying “but he is perfect”, and I am saying “who’s behind door number two?”

I don’t want this feeling. I don’t want this warmth. I want the freezing to continue behind a thick, steel door.

I don’t need to worry about who he is talking to, I don’t care if he’s coming over.

I like it here where I can worry about me.

So take his smiles and take his laugh. I don’t want it. I do not want to feel, because all that feeling just leads to disappointment. And for someone like me, that is too much to take.

See, I don’t have experience to tell someone how I feel. I can barely open up to myself. I don’t need to regret opening up to someone else.

But I probably will, and I’ll regret it in the morning when it is the first thing that pops into my head.

I’ve been through storms, you know, the kind that refuse to let the wounds heal; storms where the wind whips so harshly it tears the skin from your bones.

It is because of those storms that I have closed myself off and hidden from people like him. It is why I am socially awkward- emotionally unavailable I mean.

Please don’t try to make me feel; emotions are the literal cause of heartbreak, the actual cause of death.

Do you want to see me that way? Do you want to see heartbroken me? I’ve never shown anyone that pain, and I’ll assure you, it looks a lot worse than me showing up to a party alone.

I’d rather you see me like this; frozen yet happy in my eternally cold, bliss.

Please do not get my hopes up.

I won’t be able to handle the pitying smiles you give when you apologize that it didn’t work out, and that there will be next time. There won’t be a next time.

Trust me, I’m used to that.

I don’t want to hear that I am prettier than her.

Am I actually? Actually, I don’t care.

I don’t like feeling. Keep it far from me please.

Just let me be cold.

Featured Writer of The Week: Adriana Moraes

I wanted to start off by thanking everyone for their kind words last week. Last week’s post was petrifying but exhilarating all at once. Had I not posted it, a lot of you wouldn’t have reached out. But we’ll focus on that in 3 weeks. This week I’m handing it over to Adriana Moraes. 

I met Adriana at a Playwriting program in 2013, and almost instantly knew that there was an immense amount of talent coming from within her. Disclaimer: This is not a personal piece, just a well written artistic effort, and I’m incredibly proud of her for it. 

Ladies & Gentlemen, 

Organ Transplant


Onetime I let a boy inside my ribcage

I warned him upon entry that the path to the     space     between my lungs was a oneway ticket 

that I had never smoked a cigarette,
but the walls inside me were tar-filled

and sick

that sometimes my heart failed to beat with my brain and instead fell into
synchrony with the faucet

where I threw-up cherry red the other night.

Onetime I let a boy with a knife inside my ribcage

and I had seen the knife

and I didn’t care

he climbed inside me so gently
like he belonged there and was just taking his place

like a missing organ

he made me his home

reassembled my insides

vital pieces of me now resting on his body,
depending on his body

one hand on my heart

the other on my throat.

Onetime I let a boy with a knife and a bottle of bourbon live inside my ribcage

he cleaned the tar off the walls
but didn’t cure the sickness

I think he liked the smell of it.

One night he carved his name everywhere


and I pretended to sleep


he tried to claim me
he tried to clean me

but lost souls can’t be claimed
and I’ll never be clean enough.

My heart follows faucets
not boys

and that scared the boy

so one night he poured the bourbon down the throat he held

and I didn’t stop him

and I almost drowned

gulp, gulp, gulp
slash, slash, slash

cursive illegible sorry’s
over every spot he had once cut his name into

and he kissed the wounds
and I woke up heavy.

Organs are worthless without their host but

Onetime I watched a boy tear his way out of my ribcage.

Knife and empty bottle in his place,
nothing’s been working right in there since.

I haven’t let anyone in there since.


Follow Adriana on Twitter: @mendozadrianaa

If you would like to have your work featured on MyCompositionNotebook email me

Featured Writer Of The Week: Beth Hallows

Hello readers,
I mentioned before that I wanted to start featuring writers on my blog, and that I knew of a lot of talented individuals that weren’t ready to put their writing out there, but had something to say.
This week a friend of mine came to me, iPad in hand and asked if her piece could be submitted.
It’s hard to be vulnerable with your writing, and your art, so I was honoured that she even considered my blog as a safe place for her to be published for the first time.
Beth Hallows is her “MyCompositionNotebook” alias, and this will be the first of many efforts from her.

* * *

I remember when I hated you.

It always came with one too many drinks.

You always thought it was okay to tell me off, complain about things that weren’t my fault.

A little mess, a little instability, and suddenly I were to blame. But I never understood why; and you knew that.

Every time you yelled at me, you saw I was a little too much like you. I fought back; I wasn’t one for standing around and I knew that you hated that.

So I would scream at you, curse you and blame you for my insanity, like I had something to prove to you, even though you had made your mind up about who I was.

After it all I would run away and cry fat, hot tears, asking myself why you had to be this way and what I had done wrong. But weaklings don’t cry, so those tears were wiped up faster than they fell.

And the next day, it was like nothing had happened; conversing over dinner about school and life, evading the entire thing.

I remember when I hated you.

It was when you broke your promises.

That’s when you broke my heart.

You always promised us big plans, big trips, big dreams. And I always hoped.

But you would crush those dreams with the press of your thumb on a lazy Sunday afternoon, not even realizing how much you had just taken away.

I would tell myself that one day it would happen; one day the plans would stay.

But they never did. You’re lucky my heart could survive it.

I always knew to nod and agree with your lavish ideas of a trip far away, and seeing this

wonderful place, that wonderful place. They were never true, and it was easier to say “Sure, sounds great” than to dream that it would happen and let it crush me all over.

Did you realize we never left this house to go anywhere?

I remember when I hated you.

Only this time it wasn’t just you; it was her too. Now you had an accomplice… a partner in crime.

It was when you fought about money. It was when you fought about love.

It was when the fighting lasted into the early hours of the morning and I was always afraid the neighbours would worry and tell you both to stop.

Sometimes I hoped that they would… just to make the yelling go away. It was so hard to sleep like that. I wonder if you know what that is like.

I remember when I hated you because you couldn’t try. You didn’t try to make it better, and you cried when it all fell apart.

I hated that you were the one who got to be upset because you felt that your world was crashing down. But mine had been blown to pieces years ago.

You begged for forgiveness, and she begged for acceptance; praying that what she had just done was right. I just begged that I would remember these moments and make sure I never lived them again.

You never showed up. You were never there. But somehow I was meant to be okay with that.

But I remember when you hated me.

It was always because I was too much like her. Someone you thought you loved; someone you
thought you could change.

And I turned out to be her copy and something you wished I wouldn’t be.

So every time you looked at me, you saw her. You saw your worst parts staring you in the face.

Maybe you never hated me at all. Maybe this is just how you are.

But I don’t hate you anymore.

Because that would mean I would have to care about all of this. About everything.

And I don’t think I care anymore.

Possibly because there is nothing here to hate you for: just a lifetime of emptiness, no connection and nothing to feel.

And I know that you are trying, but I’m a little worried that it might be too late. This is where we are now and this is where we will stay.

I am trying too, but I’m not really sure because all I can think about are the things I’ve hated you for.

But I am tired. So, so tired of this.

I wonder what we could be, what we could have been, if there is more to this than what is
between us.

But I guess we’ll never know because I just remember it all too well.

* * *

If you’re ever interested in sending me work to feature on MyCompositionNotebook don’t hesitate to email me

(Anonymous/Alias writers are encouraged!)