Some people were born to tell stories. Nineteen-year-old Maddie Shomaker is one of the few whose minds breathe narratives like the lungs do air.
Since before she could read or spell herself, Shomaker elected her parents to scribble down tales of princesses and adventures for her.
Now, nineteen-year-old Shomaker’s writing is centered on more heavier topics. “If I write I’m either writing about relationships or waxing poetry about someone’s eyes… The most common themes I write about are probably love and death, separate and together. Death is inevitable and not in a bad way but a contemplative way,” says Shomaker.
The young writer takes inspiration from poet Allen Ginsberg, a poet of the Beat Generation who opposed materialism, militarism, and sexual repression.
Shomaker hails from Union, Missouri, a town approximately an hour away from her new college in St. Louis. Despite the distance from her family, Shomaker says she enjoys living in the St. Louis area more due to the city’s politically open-minded culture. “It’s not terribly small but there’s a lot of small-minded people there [Union],” says Shomaker. “I’m constantly trying to learn and abolish some of the ignorance that’s been ingrained in me from living kind of in the country.”
Shomaker observed issues of ignorance at her high school with a transgender friend who had trouble being herself. “She wasn’t allowed to use the girls bathroom. People would make fun of her and pretend it was because she’s annoying or something like that, but that wasn’t the way it was at all,” says Shomaker. To the state of Missouri, this kind of discrimination is not prohibited in the state’s Human Rights Act.
Like the poet she admires, Shomaker wants to be a carrier of change.
As a Journalism major, the young writer aims to write professionally as a travel writer honed in human rights. “I understand where I am in this world and I’m always trying to understand the privileges I have and what other people don’t,” says Shomaker.
Now a student at STLCC-Meramec (St. Louis Community College), the writer enjoys her new surroundings. “I love being out here and being able to learn something different,” says Shomaker. At school, she enjoys her creative writing course and learning more about her desired profession.
For the poet, the hardest components of writing are completing and sharing her work. While in the process of moving, the nineteen-year-old discovered three boxes of notebooks full of writings from childhood. “They’re usually half filled-in and jumping around. Nothing’s ever finished, but it’s really interesting to go back and read that kind of stuff,” says Shomaker.
To the nineteen-year-old writer, sharing her work is similar to displaying a diary page, but the writer is determined to push her limits. “ I’m not going to become better at anything if I don’t put myself out there, if I’m always in my comfort zone,”says Shomaker.
No matter which path Maddie Shomaker dares to tread, one thing is for certain– there’ll be a story behind it.
Words from Maddie: “This poem is ‘Untitled.’ It’s really just a stream of consciousnesses that fell out of me under the startling realization that being in love can indeed feel like death by suffocation.”
Words from Maddie: “‘Our Sun’ was written the day my grandmother passed away. It’s very short but holds a special place in my heart.”