Writer Spotlight: Sage Braziel


Sage Braziel (11) was interviewed about her creative writing background.

Sage Braziel is currently a junior at AMHS who is a member of Creative Writing Club. Although her journey with creative writing has only just begun, she is already blossoming as she has immersed herself in the world of poetry. Below is a poem of hers, and I also interviewed Sage about creative writing and the piece that she shared.


How to Take a Train by Sage Braziel

Pepper spray stays tucked under my left sleeve

waiting in apprehension for that one guy who can’t bear rejection

I keep my head down avoiding all eye contact

because that tends to give men nasty ideas.

Stepping onto the train platform brings me a false sense of safety

because in reality, I just entered a battlefield.

It’s my body vs. a clan of hands that touch me where they please

I plead for them to respect my boundaries

but they ignore my pleas,

because they believe that consent is made to appease.

The train finally arrives and I push in as the doors open.

I take a seat and exhale, because I believe that the scary part is done

but suddenly a flash appears under my skirt

and the man sitting next to me wears a sly grin.

He then escapes through the train doors,

and I get up to defend myself because

with him, is a picture of my dignity

but then the train jerks, and the doors shut

and I’m forced to move on.


Hey Sage! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your interests (creative writing and other interests as well)?

I love writing, but I don’t have enough time for it as I’d like. I also super duper love flowers. I recently bought a skateboard, and her name is Persephone. If I could be anything in the ocean, I’d be some coral.

How’s junior year going so far?

It’s been super busy! I’ve definitely found new things to love this year so far though (especially trumpets). I’ve also gotten so much better at thrifting.

Do you prefer writing short stories or poetry or some other type of writing?

I love poetry! Even though I didn’t quite understand them, Shakespeare’s sonnets really inspired me.

How did you first become interested in creative writing and how has your journey led you to where you are with your writing today?

It was in September during the hurrication. I was super bored, and I’d watched everything that I could think of on Netflix. So I decided to write a poem (for some unknown reason). Until that day, I thought that poetry was super yucky, because I could never understand it. But once I started writing, I felt very connected to the piece for some reason, and I spent three weeks editing and “perfecting” it. After I finished it, I implemented writing into my day-to-day life, and writing began to be something that I found pride in doing. I’m ridiculously afraid of public speaking, and I participated in a poetry slam because of how happy poetry made me! Writing has definitely given me more confidence; it has also forced me out of my comfort zone a bunch which made me apply to writing camps and experiment with new poetry structures.

Until that day, I thought that poetry was super yucky, because I could never understand it. But once I started writing, I felt very connected to the piece for some reason, and I spent three weeks editing and “perfecting” it.”

— Sage Braziel

Many people struggle to connect with/understand poetry. Did you ever face this struggle?

I’ve always struggled with understanding poetry, and I still struggle to this day. It takes me a while to decipher the meanings of poems, but I can usually still connect with the pieces without having the full picture.

Where did your inspiration for this poem come from? You seem to use a lot of symbols in your writing such as with the train in “How to Take a Train.” What made you decide to use these images as the central symbols of your poems?

I honestly don’t know where my poem brain storming starts. I’m usually scribbling nonsense in my poetry journal, and all of a sudden, I have an idea to write about. When I wrote this poem, my friend, Katie, had just told me about  her trip to NYC, and when I think of NYC, I think of subways. I’m pretty sure the ‘#MeToo’ movement was prominent when I wrote this.

What does your writing process look like?

I sit for an hour and speed write the poem, and then I spend the next few days editing and revising and editing and revising and editing and revising until I think it sucks. I then redo and rephrase lots of lines, or I completely remove lines/stanzas.

What role does creative writing play in your life?

It’s truly an outlet for me. I get to express myself in ways that I can’t in my day-to-day life, and I’m so grateful for that. It challenges me to find new ways to say mundane phrases. It also let me escape the stresses in my life.

Any reading recommendations for those just starting to dive into the world of creative writing?

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke is super amazing!

How has creative writing changed the way you think about the world?

It helped me see how connected the world is for some reason. It also showed me how much beauty there can be in the most simplistic objects.

What role do you think creative writing will play in college and your future?

I might want to become an author one day. I can really see myself writing some super cool sci-fi story.


Thank you so much to Sage Braziel for agreeing to publish her work and giving really interesting answers!