Sunday, July 27, 2014

Perspectival magic.

Today, I read this in the New York Times and it resonated hardcore:
Failure is big right now — a subject of commencement speeches and business conferences like FailCon, at which triumphant entrepreneurs detail all their ideas that went bust. But businessmen are only amateurs at failure, just getting used to the notion. Writers are the real professionals.
Just last night over an enchilada I was telling the historian how tired reading my manuscript makes me.

"But the poems aren't worse than they were. They haven't changed," I said. (Insert adverb, like plaintively.)

No, I'm just sick of them. Or right now I am. So that must mean that it's the downhill slope of summer.

I have had time to become sick afresh of my poems because my Scottish visitors are away--indeed, none of my children are here at the moment. They have been attending a family reunion in Logan and having a good time. Meanwhile, I have been recovering from a sinus cold and feeling a tad bereft. That's how I roll. Good times, sinus colds, limeade, bereftitude. It's a big fat aria of doldrums.

Did you start blogging again just to whine? I hear the people saying. Yes! yes I did, thanks for asking.

Let me start again. 

Here's what's been happening for the past few weeks:
Chalk art and breakfast and cookouts on the patio. Swimming with the cousins. Planting little pot-gardens. Bead necklaces. Stories at bedtime. Malcolm in the Middle watch parties. Doughnut tastings. A visit to the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Gardening in the evening. Laughing, quarreling, tears, and more laughter. Snacks galore. A full glory of summer childhood. 
Their brief absence over the last few days has meant I could take a nap. We went to the farmer's market and bought cherries and peaches and tomatoes. Of course, in the time they've been gone, I've also found the time to become weary of my poems, and to let melancholy bloom into view (as opposed to playing its usual gloomy bass note in the background). It's not like letting melancholy bloom is a great idea, I get that. But I have never been particularly decisive at marshaling my inner resources. My strategy is more to let the clouds cloud the sky--no one controls the weather--and know that they'll pass.

Soon they'll be back. I plan to bake this with them, and, I hope, see more movies, have more cool mornings on the patio, water the plants and discuss the habitat with the girls, make more Lego creations. We may need to eat more doughnuts. We have a handful to people still to see, and we need to finish one storybook and start and finish another. (I also need to unweary myself enough to make decisions about my manuscript...fresh courage take! Fail better!) An ending looms, but we'll all be trying to do that perspectival magic that keeps it at a distant hover until it is actually at the doorstep, with a bouquet of melancholy, a bevy of plane tickets, and an echo.


  1. Here's a fact. All your writing, and all your children, are beautiful. It's an icky world, most of the time. Your poems, and your blog, and your children, make it beautiful for as long as they are in my sight.

  2. I don't know if you will see this comment, but thanks for the note on failure, which I may use as part of the readings for something.
    Oooh, 2010? Failure memoirs. Yes, I like it.



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