Saturday, June 22, 2019

A few remarks.

It’s evening here, right about solstice time, and it is still just as light as it can be:

circa 9 p.m., good grief

I am going to revise and/or make notes on a poem or two before I start reading and I hope fall asleep with relative ease and very few hiccups. Sleeping is, on this side of the Atlantic, not without its little ordeals. I’ve had a few blissful nights, but more where it was hard to fall asleep and then too easy to  wake up too early. I’m still working with all the potential variables: drawing the shades for the windows, hitting the right mix of the hour when I lie down, what to read, how long to read, and what about a snack? And don’t forget to do the dishes! &c.

I have reached the following points in my retreat trajectory:

1. Get things organized and tidy. Articulate an agenda.
2. Recognize that the agenda you have articulated is your placeholder agenda, are you kidding? Your real agenda has to emerge, from reading and writing &c &c.
3. Recognize that the “manuscript” you thought you had is basically worthless and almost all the poems are dross.
4. Recognize that you are a hack and everything is stupid and basically nothing you’ve ever done is any good.
5. And that’s where we are, currently.

Dispassionately, I know that this is par for the course. I don’t even have to have a retreat in Ireland to experience this delightful sequence of events. I basically experience it every single summer, which I know, because I’ve reread the journal I keep of such things.

On the plus side, the hedgerows and gardens are filled with stuff like this:


I made a note to myself yesterday to try to sink into this place a little more. I took a longish walk yesterday, then did the same walk today, but in reverse. The road, which is a big circle, is mostly narrow, so it means paying attention to cars approaching from both directions, on the side of the road I don’t expect, but who’s counting.

Last week, my daughter proposed that a bunch of us make Spotify playlists of our top ten (plus one, potentially a ‘guilty’ pleasure) songs of all time. The big bonus of this is several playlists that have given me an intense hit of the person who made it, and that has been a real pleasure to me. I listened to two of those playlists today. (Here’s mine, in case you want to know). Anyway, I took my walk on the narrow road whilst listening to music and simultaneously remaining alert for cars, and that kept me going, I’ll tell you what.

The chickens are in their coop, and a few minutes ago, a magpie strolled up, to troll them, I think.

If I were in America right now, I would be planning which movie to see and also probably planning some guacamole for dinner. I would also have full access to my sweaters. But I wouldn’t have access to the full and extravagant range of my emotional world, vis a vis being a writer, and all that that implies. So, you know. On balance, it’s good I’m here.

It really is, though. I wrote a draft of something that is currently pretty lousy but is on the trail of something I think is productive. It would be much harder for me to have done this at home—to get started down a new road, narrow and full of unexpected approaches, because I would have been planning that movie and guacamole and would have had a whole mad wardrobe of sweater choices to distract me.

Well, all right. The goings on around here are mostly related to (a) flowers, (b) fowl of the barnyard, water, and song varieties, (c) strange noises in the night, (d) donkeys, (e) light sobbing, or (f) snacking. In regards to all of these, This is, such as it is, my report.

Guacamole-less in Ireland,

HTMS at your service.


  1. So, which is your plus-one guilty pleasure?

  2. Oooh, Miley Cyrus. That song is real good.

  3. I'll have to check it out. Some of the others I remember well.



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