Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let us review.

I think it is healthy, salutary, to pause at the end of something to assess what one has accomplished. What one has learned, if you will. And it is in this spirit of self-assessment that I offer firstly a consideration of what I thought I might accomplish this summer; secondly an enumeration of what I did indeed accomplish this summer; and thirdly, a reflection upon what the two data sets, compared, might reveal.

Firstly. I said I would make movies, write poems, revise a couple of manuscripts. I said I would "Gather my wits and be the happy genius of my house" and that I would lay "hands upon a will, a desire to start again, an urge from which I will not be diverted." I also had ancillary plans to organize and order my house.

SECONDLY. What follows is a detailed but not complete listing of my accomplishments since I turned in my grades in May:
  1. I organized the footage for exactly one video, as yet incomplete.
  2. I did a radical and far-reaching inventory of my poems, both manuscripts, to better understand what my poetic project is and what my poetic means are.
  3. I did a revision of one of my manuscripts, but that was before item 2 above. So I don't know what I think of this revision. Also, the version of this manuscript that prompted the revision--it had had, to a very recent point, seemed to have absolutely no traction--no one was interested in it. Yesterday, I heard from a competition--this no-traction ms was a finalist. God. This possibly leads one to wonder what revision even means.
  4. I traveled hither and yon, here and there, far and wide. L.A., NoCal, Idaho, the wilds of Nevada.
  5. I spent lots of time with my daughter who has since departed for Louisiana. I did not anticipate that she would spend quite a bit of time here this summer, as she moved out of her apartment in anticipation of the big move. We also took two of my grandsons (her nephews) to Idaho in advance of their parents' arrival.
  6. I saw a fair number of trashy movies, and some of them twice. One of them three times.
  7. I read a pile of police procedurals and some other books, even some good ones.
  8. We got a new roof.
  9. I have not yet lain hands upon a will, a desire to start again, an urge from which I will not be diverted. At least not consistently.
  10. I recently wrecked our car.
  11. I have written no new poems. None. Whatsoever.

I have found the recurrent cycling in and out of my house of my youngest two children to be more of an emotional event than I would have predicted. Or maybe that's not true. Maybe I really expected it, but it has still hit me hard. I miss them, and I know that missing them is no tragedy, rather a necessary step that comes before whatever's next. Still.

Even so, one of the great pleasures for me--and one of the most meaningful--was to have spent that time with my daughter. I did not expect it, but I will remember this summer as the summer my daughter left, and before she did, she lived here, we talked every day, we ate together, we watched endless episodes of Criminal Minds because it is her current favorite show. I loved that. I am still watching it, because it makes me feel connected to her.

I am still finding my way back to writing--the act of writing. My friend Renaissance Girl says that everything, for a writer, is writing--walking out in the green world, thinking about things, mourning them. And I think she is right. I would like, though, to be back at making the things. This last week, I have been collecting notes for a couple new poems. I think they are poems. I'm going to try to make them into poems. We'll see.

The lack of blog in the last several months--the paucity of posts, certainly, but also a failure of delight in making them--is indicative of something, and I want to see if I can do something about it.

One day--the day after I had finally articulated my own depletion to myself--I said, aloud, to myself whilst walking the dog, Just be happy. Why not just be happy? And this sort of seemed like an answer. For awhile, anyway. I just want to assert my words, my little words, into the world. Just let them have their say, let them work their way to the surface, let them become these statements, poems, whatever. I want to keep trying.


  1. I have told you my theory that blogging is for those months when it is cold or dark or wet. Blogging dips in the summer is when we do our best living, too busy to blog.

  2. Awesome news on the poetry manuscript. And, yes, revision. It's a cruel and inconstant master. But this means soon!
    Also, I agree with Amelia. We blog when we have too much desk time and not enough world time.

  3. A message from your little words: WE ARE HERE. WE ARE READY. ASSERT AWAY.

    I love your little words and simply want to cheer that they are fomenting once again. As for blogging, though I've missed your posts, your August picture has been its own delight every time I've checked in to see if anything new is in the window here.

    I also love that you understand the having daughters thing (and sons, too, probably, mine is just young enough still that I don't comtemplate his leaving).

    You were such a help to me last year, giving me permission to grieve, I hope you are as generous with yourself. I hope you will write from this so I can have it as a talisman down the road.

    It isn't fair at all the way they come and break up our lives into little pieces and then we put our lives back together in a way that doesn't make sense without them in it.

  4. I keep coming back to read this post--literally and in my mind--because it speaks to me. Even though I knew in some part of me that this is the way life goes, I never imagined how it would feel.

  5. Gillian is right--this is a post that deserves reading and re-reading because it is beautiful and wise.

    The whole time I was raising my five sons I kept saying to myself, hey! look at me! I'm a mom with a life apart from mom-dom--I write, I teach, I sell books, I keep up on celebrity gossip. And then when the leaving started, I surprised myself by getting REALLY depressed. Hey! Look at me! I'm a big old cliche!

    But it was true. I kind of didn't know the point of me anymore. Surprisingly.

    Glad you and Daughter had so much sweet time together.

  6. "no new poems": Once again, no such thing as not writing poems.

  7. Oh, sheesh. I commented before I got to the part where you reference the last time I threw that at you.



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