I get up every day, but today I got up with a plan. To be clear: most days I also get up with a plan. Today was Sunday. Sunday, I prefer to keep my plans a little loose. Today, my plan was tight, because my writing group was coming over, I had a lunch to prepare and a lunch, therefore, for which to shop. I had a poem to straighten out so it could fly right. Also, I have other writing to do and grading to do. Also, my environment, especially my study, is a little crazy. Okay, mostly my study. Also my side of the bed. Pretty much anywhere I am keeping my personal possession. So, as you can see, I really needed the plan.
Earlier this week, I had my instructional team over for our post-semester review, aka The Post-Mortem. I made some spinach lentil soup and a lovely salad. At the end of my preparations, as I was making the salad happen, I got in a little bit of a hurry and cut my finger. I cut my finger whilst preparing vegetables pretty often. Also, and in a perhaps not unrelated trend, I am often in a hurry whilst preparing vegetables, especially when people are coming over. The people: I should learn that hurrying and sharp knives are a bad mix. But I never do. There I am, slicing red onion super thin, because if you're putting raw onion into a salad, it needs to be super thin so all the sweet can be on the surface and the raw has to hide. That's a theory, anyway, a theory of how to slice an onion. Do you need more cooking theories? I've got loads. Slicing a red onion--right? that's where we were?--and then, a cut finger, which slows down your slicing considerably.
My hands have, ever since, been in motion and also a little bit on the raw side. It's cold, for one. A cut finger likes to take its time healing because hands are necessary. For work, you see. So this week, while I trimmed a billion anthologies on the big Duplo DocuCutter, and counted them a billion times in their boxes, in case I missed one, and hung up my clothes for the billionth time, and hung cold wet clothes on the rack, and made cookies, and decorated a Christmas tree, and picked five pears and two persimmons and a wedge of gorgonzola and four Christmas cactuses at Trader Joe's, and made scallion pancakes and squash laksa and a pear cranberry gingersnap crumble, my hands were on my mind.
In my practice, when I take a poem out to work on it, it means I open a virtual file and find the latest version of a digital document. If I'm lucky, I find I've left notes for myself on the poem, that will help me to remember where I left off, what I knew I hadn't yet done in the poem when I put it down.
I'm working on a poem called 'smart bomb,' set in a car while the speaker was driving to work and a story about the bombing in Syria was on the radio. This was a few months ago, after one of the cease-fires had yet again gone south. In the poem, the speaker turned the radio off, just as I often do, when an interviewer asks a muddle-headed question, or a caller's response is unbearable, or, as sometimes has happened in the past, the host has a cold and her voice sounds phlegmy. Sometimes, I just can't take the sound that the radio makes in my ears. In my mind. In my everything. I guess now is a good time to say that 'the speaker' in the sentences above is, for all intents and purposes, me.
I've been thinking about how information--ideas, events, cataclysms--detonate, how its blast ripples wide. I've been thinking about the what to do problem. About the what to feel. Also: about how much it feels like none of my answers are sufficient. Feeling isn't sufficient. Not even doing.
In my plans for the week upcoming, I have grading to finish. I have, perhaps, a few more meetings. A finite number, I hope I hope. I have more writing to finish. A lunch with a friend. Shopping for grandchildren. Two little grandsons who will just have driven in with their mom and dad from Arizona, coming over to say hi and bye really quick tomorrow night. I know I will get several reminders of daily political actions in the civic sphere, which is to say, in the world where we live: calls to make, emails to send, places to show up and lend my voice, however I feel. I have necessary sleep I must hold a place for. I hope for a day when I can stay in my quiet house and bake.
This last week, I bought some lights on an impulse at Target--dewdrop lights, they're called, little beads of light on copper wire that you can wind around things. In the dark, dark of winter, I do love a glow. The wire and lights came wrapped around a card. You had to unwind, then load three batteries into a little pack, then click a button. The first set of batteries made nothing happen, light-wise--I think I may have lodged one of the three batteries inexactly into its slot. So I patiently extracted the three, then tried another three batteries, and this time, they lit up, brightening at intervals along the wire.
I wrapped the wire around a vase of roses, which I also bought whilst shopping for my poetry lunch. The lights illuminated the glass urn, the stems crossed in the still water, the red and white blooming out the lip. I love roses at Christmas. Roses and lights. Roses, lights, and a tree. Roses, lights, baubles, and a tree. Roses, lights, baubles, quiet, and a tree. Unwinding and winding a string of light.