Monday, January 31, 2011

slow Monday, slow month

January has crawled by. I'm not too sad to see it go. It started poorly and is ending well so I can't complain but it dragged, dawdled, dallied. I'm ready for February, which is always speeds by and culminates with my birthday. Love is three days younger than me so we should have a fun birthday weekend at the end of the month. March is always a strange month, weather wise. I hope Spring comes early this year. I know we need the rain and all that but after the devastatingly cold summer we had last, I want heat. Maybe I'm reptilian.

I need to catch up with old friends. Soon. I had brunch yesterday with old high school friends. Funny how we haven't changed much, maybe we knew who we were back then.

Writing. I need to do some this week. And send off the manuscript. And apply to two big conferences. I can do it.



Friday, January 28, 2011

self

Going through poems, culling, removing, rearranging. Soon it'll be time for a final printing, binding, addressing and sending; then the however long of waiting.

I'm in a roving mood again, pacing and desperate for something I can't put my finger on. The weather is tricky, a little Summer has come into our days and I'm trying not to be fooled by it. I'm trying not to get excited because I know sooner than later the clouds and cool will swoop back in and I'll have months of bundling left.

Last night I was reading through a collection of someone else's poems then went to my own and started reading through. I had a moment. I looked up at B who was sprawled on the sofa and said I'm a good poet. He laughed and agreed. But I forget or I worry sometimes. I spend a lot of time writing and reading. In my heart I have great ambitions to write more prose, to publish novels. But at the heart of it I'm a poet. What an art to have been chosen by. Hardly anyone reads poetry, except for poets. Poets make no money. They're rarely respected. I barely ever tell anyone I write poetry because I can almost imagine the eye roll, and annoyance. Everyone has known a terrible poet. But I'm not a terrible poet. I work hard. I'm learning to wear it well.

Still reading Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing. Some of the poems hit gut. I love that. What hit my gut is most likely different from what hits your gut but this poem, Looking Away, got me. The last two lines especially. Yes Leonard, I too attempt to leave the reader with bite marks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

hours of dreaming

This is the first morning I've woken up in nearly a week without being in pain. I had some sort of horrendous viral infection that took me down. I slept most of the weekend away. I didn't leave the apartment. Saturday I spent a total of maybe 4 hours out of bed. Yesterday about 6. My dreams were crazy and surreal but I enjoyed them. (I think Love was sick of hearing about what I was halluci-dreaming about.) My entire body has been aching for days, every joint, the muscles in my face, even my eye sockets. My lungs hurt. This morning I woke up after a particularly strange dream about playing Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway to find that the illness has vacated my body; I'm weak but content. I'm a little sad face that my entire weekend was spent sleeping but so it goes. I have 3 days of New York Times to catch up on since my eyes hurt so bad all weekend I couldn't even read. The worst dream I had all weekend was that the Jacobins caught me during the Terror and buried me alive in the Catacombs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

aches and aches

I've been under the weather. I wrote my first poem of the new year last night shortly before falling asleep (and shortly before almost calling B to take me to the emergency room because I was convinced I was dying, but it was just a mini-panic attack.) Sad fucking little poem. I'm glad I didn't die because the last poem I ever wrote would have made me look like my life is a tragedy when truly I have it pretty damn good and am just a whiner when sick.

I started a book yesterday that my friend Marco mentioned on his blog, Notes from Normalcy. Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing. I bawled my eyes out reading it. Maybe it was because I was sick, or because there was a full moon or maybe just because the writing struck bone. Writing rarely does that to me anymore.

I'm tired, tired tired. My body is fighting something. I'll let it fight while I sleep.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the world ends nightly

B took this picture of Cecil and me at the dog park last week. We were discussing hypotheses for ripening Thai chilies for a fermented hot sauce I want to make.

My dreams have been of the the end of the world a lot lately. Not uncommon. I have a deep-seeded subconscious fear of the world ending because throughout my childhood it was drilled into my head almost daily that the world was about to end. Firestorms, floods, earthquakes, the whole disaster enchilada. Tsunami figure heavily into my dreams, they always have. I manage each time to outrun them, the waves splashing at my heels as I cling to the side of a cliff or I make it up the stairs at the last moment. The dreams used to terrify me but as I've grown older I know they're just an indelible part of who I am.

Waiting for a shipment of books. Looking forward to getting the second and third installments of a fantasy trilogy I started reading last week, as well as another YA book and a Leonard Cohen book. I'm eclectic as fuck.

Friday, January 14, 2011

brain jangling

January morning. Clear sky, warm day coming. I have a few minor errands to run. A manuscript to submit to a chapbook contest. Buying new night cream with a scent that doesn't annoy my boyfriend. A bag to finish sewing for a baby shower. A trip to the dog park with the beautiful beast whose face reminds me of a kangaroo. Dinner. Beer. Live music. A few laughs with my baby sister and her contagious high laugh that starts with a loud peal and descends into a throaty, belly jiggling giggle. I've started meditating again and am slowly becoming accustomed to the silence, all the brain jangling is dissipating. I've been weaning myself off of cigarettes, at least during the week; weekends I am going to indulge. I'm experimenting with drinking unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I've pickled beets.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

distractions

I had the oddest dream that I was at Prince William's wedding and since his mother couldn't be there a crowd of male Princess Diana impersonators were there in her stead. I was there with 7 friends. After I went to the mountains to look at stars but a secret moon appeared and I couldn't see anything. I should have been excited by the secret moon but I was there to see stars.

I saw True Grit last night. I enjoyed the beginning and the ending but was bored in the middle.

I have a lot on my mind. Not writing anything creative but it will come. Twelve days into the year. It is already better than it was in the beginning. I hope this trend continues.

Friday, January 7, 2011

going

In my dreams I visited the strange dream-world that I've inhabited since I was very young. I was in one of the houses I stay in when I'm there. We were on the cusp on natural disaster and the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be in bed. Odd odd odd.

A couple of nights ago I went with a friend to the monthly planetarium show in Balboa Park. We had happy hour appetizers and drinks at the Prado then geeked out learning about the winter constellations. Learning about the Crab Nebula thrilled me, I wish I could have seen the supernova 1000 years ago. After the planetarium show we peered through telescopes that were set up outside. I saw Saturn's rings and moons, nebula and other celestial bodies. It made me want to spend more time outside of the city, more time looking up.

Yesterday I went wine tasting with my mother, sister and my mom's friend. I don' drink white wine because for some odd reason it makes me crazy and gives me a horrendous hangover. I hadn't had any white wine in 2 years. But I figured a few sips during wine tasting wouldn't kill me. I was wrong. I was sick last night and had a headache that made me very regretful of my choice. Only red wine for me from now on. But it was a lovely day. I should get out of the city more, even if just for long drives.

I've been on the strange edge of panic for a while now. I talk myself down but can't find the heart of my fear. I've been trying to pinpoint where my irrational thoughts come from. Not a pretty process but a necessary one. I can't exorcise all my demons, what left would I have to write about? New demons would arrive, surely. Or old demons would stay, disguised to rise up when I least expect them.



Monday, January 3, 2011

back into the pages, glacial

I've started journaling again. On New Year's Day. I'm a snob when it comes to my journaling, I only want to write with certain pens, namely a Micron 05. I have beautiful penmanship and I don't like wasting it on ballpoint pens that aren't water resistant. I only journal on acid-free, archive quality paper. Maybe out of some strange arrogance, that my journals will outlast me. But I don't know if I want anyone reading my journals, ever. My honesty in them is a bit terrifying. I am unmasked. If ever there is a natural disaster my journals are the first thing I'll try to save. Followed by heirlooms. I often think I should make more sort if directive that when I die, my journals are to be buried or burned with me.

A year ago today I left for Key West and was there for the coldest weather they'd had since the 1880s. I was there for the literary seminar, all about poetry. I surrounded by poets; famous, soon to be famous and students like me. I was housed in an old house that was full of other scholarship students. At night we'd cook meals together, smoking on the balconies, talking late into the nights. One of my first evenings I met a woman at a garden party and we chatted for a long while, comfortably. I finally told her my name and she told me hers. Judy Blume. I almost peed myself.

In Key West I met one of my favorite human beings ever, T. I stayed with him the first few nights I was there. He lived in a trailer park on the island just north of KW. His modular home was customized beautifully and he was right on a canal. We'd sit on the dock he'd built, at night with bourbon, in the morning with coffee and talk endlessly. It was one of those rare, easy friendships that are life-changing. He had two sons, brilliant little twins who made me laugh every time we interacted. I miss all of them and waking up on the sofa to two little faces staring at me. I'd love to go back to KW. One day, when it isn't cold. And the first thing I'l eat is a soft-shell crab sandwich from Bo's Fish Wagon.

Working with my manuscript. Lovingly, carefully. I'm a glacier when it comes to change, but when I move I move the entire landscape with me. Also putting together some poems for a chapbook contest. 15 poems, easy. B wants to reprint my old chapbook since I have no more copies. Maybe. I want to move forward with my work this year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

oh manuscript, beloved little beast sucking me dry

My poetry manuscript is resting on the floor by my feet, little bastard. We're still figuring each other out. I have the poems I'm pretty sure I want, but the order they go in is not yet clear. I've attempted to theme them together; family/self, sex/love, exterior. I missed submission deadlines to a couple of contests but I'm not worried. This process is the beginning of a process that will probably last a long time. I am submitting to one of my favorite presses, as their reading period is January.

Going through the poems of the last 10+ years has been pretty damn weird. Who needs a flux capacitor when you have poems to take you back in time?

Reading through the work I seem like I am given to being morose and depressed, or some people call it introspective. That or I rarely write poems when I'm happy. Probably a little of both. I'm reading a book on behavioral psychology (of course) and in self-diagnosing myself I think I have discovered one of the reason I've always written. When I was a child I was incredibly sensitive. I would cry at the smallest things or perceived slights. I tried to hold it back but my emotions were evident all of the time, crying a bubble in my throat always ready to burst. Of course, that had to be exhausting to the people around me. I would be told over and over again not to cry, not to show my feelings and I made a practice of not expressing myself. When I started writing I found a place I could put all of those ready-to-rear feelings on a page, where I could see them and honor them, without having to show everyone what I was feeling. Maybe I'm getting a little psychology 101 but it might make sense. Also, I was such a terribly lonely child, isolated by religion and books were I lived for. Thus, writing.

I have so much more to say but Love's dog just shit in my office and I have to take him outside. I think we both need a long walk.