Saturday, August 01, 2015

Letter to the end of summer.

Dear end of summer,

I know you're not here yet, not quite. Today, there was a family celebration held under a spreading catalpa tree, with blankets on the grass and food under the patio shelter and everyone lingering despite the fact that it was noon, and then past noon. There was an afternoon catnap at five. There was an ice cream social in our friends' back yard, with children's ice cream cones melting in their hands and everyone chatting as the sun went down, the trees marking our horizon glittering with the falling light, the air cooling, the party lights coming on. Summer. We're still in it.

I suppose, though, that the relevant fact of August means that we must look out for you, as inexorable as the weeks passing, the now noticeable every day minutes-earlier sunset, the way that even the warmest afternoons now predict that they are numbered. That soon enough, we'll be remembering them, coming home from work at dusk, snugging up inside as the evenings get cold.

A friend noted, recently, that summer had gone by too quickly, which she could tell by the fact that they hadn't even finished one jar of mayonnaise. I replied It's not over yet! And I meant it, and mean it now. It's not over, but over it will be, and soon enough. And the fact of its immanent end adds sweetness to every last moment: to the ceiling fan ticking over our sleep. To the flowers that have sturdied and kept blooming in the yard even under the sternest sun. To our evening walks with the dog. To our plans, and how they seem so much more finite now. To the harvest which has not yet reached its peak, though soon enough it will.

End of summer, I hope you will keep your coming steady. I hope you will not rush. Be gentle, end of summer. I want to mark, record, enjoy every moment still left.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Here are a few things I think I will probably end up writing on an airplane.

--because I have now officially reached the moment when I'm probably not going to get much more done except pack, straighten, and leave:
  • Several proposals 
  • Scripts for a handful of instructional screencasts, to wit:: 
  • 'something about genre-mixing, mixed genre pieces';
  • 'something about genre that *undoes the regime of compliance,* that undoes the notion of genres as closed systems; working toward an open ecology of genre, with adaptability & invention & responsivity as the prized values' [NOTE TO SELF: I'm sure this will be super easy, especially on a plane.];  
  • 'Storytelling aspects of using sources? (the submerged and/or explicit narrative elements of all the genres, and how to address this in terms of composing)' [NOTE TO SELF: ...and the fact that this has been on my list for a year might be indicative of ...something.]
  • a poem for convocation (!)
  • a draft of a poem that I have been planning to write all summer
  • a revision of the Francis Bacon poem
I did get my manuscripts mailed or otherwise sent off today, including one with a 'detailed cover letter addressing my bio, my publication history, and my marketing plan' should my manuscript be accepted by the press in question. 

And I bought a non-essential tee shirt and some essential hair product. I am prepared, people! I have several novels on my Kindle. And a non-functioning iPod, so, you know, that's rad. As you can see, I've been thinking about my carry-ons obsessively, as well as my in-flight productivity. Yes, I said that. I'm as horrified as you are.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A few things I hate.

1. Rejection. I really, really really hate it.
2. Waking up in the morning to find you've been rejected.
3. Forgetting that I shouldn't look at my email first thing in the morning because of the possibility of rejection.
4. The way rejection takes over your day and makes it all about the big echoing NO you heard before you even got out of bed. Before you even drank a glass of water or practically even opened your eyes.

In conclusion: rejection is a stupid day-hogger, shade-thrower, summer-inversion rat bastard of a jerk.

There, I said it.

However, in defense of my day, there were other things that happened (besides being rejected):

1. chat with various kids, both live and digital

2. seeing Spy with my darling aunt Sal, and having it be just as hilarious the second time as the first

3. hearing this song

4. and hearing this song

5. shrimp taco (because I was too rejected to cook)

6. the thought of this:

6. listening to D sing various of the Zelda songs (the Ballad of the Gales? I think?) while he Linked it up and I held the baby

7. doing a really splendid revision of a poem in my manuscript so that I can

8. send it to three presses who are holding open reading periods at the moment.

Talking stuff over with the historian, and then revising that poem is what really helped me turn the corner. Anyway: rejectors, not that I think it was personal or anything--at least not for you--I just want you to know that I improved a poem and therefore you did not win. If you were trying to win. Which, probably you weren't. EVEN SO: rejection is not the boss of me, not today anyway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Monday Tuesday Wednesday and the arbitrary cut off.

You know, we had a wedding over the weekend. And loads of family events of every stripe. I mean literally EVERY STRIPE, the people: dinner in the park, swimming, wedding dress shopping, travels to other states and more, I tell you, much much more, with a fabulous and rotating cast of characters. On Tuesday we met the rental guys at the empty indoor soccer venue so they could pick up the chairs tables tablecloths fancy arch. On Monday, I returned a tux. I am washing all the downstairs sheets as we speak.

I only say the above because this week, the week after the wedding, was to be the 'we're getting ready to go to Scotland' week. And it is--it is the 'we're getting ready to go to Scotland' week. I have made a list of what I'm packing:

That's 4 skirts and 8 shirts. I'm pretty sure this is the correct proportions.

I made this list at a strategic planning retreat on Monday. Because Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday had meetings galore. It was epic, for late July, when my ideal July plan included things like making toast and wearing white clothes and, you know, moving from one room to the next and fanning myself.

Even so, despite my being fully meetinged up for one two three days in a row, I decided to make an arbitrary cut off date. Wednesday--that's today, for those of you keeping score--is and was the last day I would accept meeting engagements before our Scotland trip. I would take meetings all the way till 4:30 on Wednesday, and after that no more. Why Wednesday? Well, there are reasons, and I am going to tell them to you:

1. I feel like seeing a movie with my auntie tomorrow.
2. I still need to go to Target. And Sephora.
3. My daughter needs me. SHE NEEDS ME.
4. There are events this weekend!
5. I need to see two movies with my beloved this weekend.
6. What about the sorry state of my study?
7. Washing the sheets.
8. Revise a poem.
9. Come up with an epigraph, maybe, a new one, for my manuscript.
10. Which I am sending out to five places.
11. Other reasons I am not thinking of at the moment but which are equally important as the previous ten.
12. I need to buy Jolly Ranchers and fruit snacks to take to Scotland.
13. Etc.

As you can see, I srsly don't have time to take more meetings. I am going to Scotland with my sneakers, two pairs, and my ballet flats and possibly a sandal! and my pile of black clothes and my two lenses! and my fruit snacks!

I am international. I am vacation preparation. I am at the movies and all about my suitcase and I taking my swimming suit so I can swim in an open air seawater pool. Elsewhere, is where I am. And therefore I just don't have the time, America, for your agendas and followups, your proposals and Google docs and updates. This is the arbitrary cutoff, and it means business.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reasons to go again to Scotland.

wet weather is my soul's weather.
In Scotland, the weather is, currently, rainy. When we arrive next week, though, it is supposed to be
cloudy. Cloudy with partial sun.

this odd-shaped thumb of a country
I love love love.
Scotland is riven with lochs and rivers and crags. Like other wild mountainous places, Scotland cannot be navigated as the crow flies. If we want to drive from Aberdeen to the sea lochs on the west coast, and to the Isle of Skye, we may have to go along the north coast by way of Inverness.

The isles in the west: these are magical words. Hebrides, inner and outer. The Fairy Pools. Portree. The lighthouse at Neist.

causeway at low tide. I want to walk across.
When we're in Scotland, we may go south as well, into the north of England, to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. You have to watch the tides--you can only go across from the mainland to the island when the tides are out, but you can walk--there's a pilgrim's way.

In Scotland, there are people I love, people I can hardly wait to see. In less than a week we'll board a plane for hours and hours and then we'll be there.


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