Thursday, October 29, 2009

happy the first

I'm not sure I can keep looking at my face every time I pull up my blog. It's not a bad face, it's just my face and I spend too much time with it. (Was that vain or just sad and lonely? and please note that in the first unedited version of this post, I did in fact spell that v-e-i-n. Happy Halloween.)

My mom sent me a newspaper article about writing down one happy thing a day, or something like that (I was distracted by the envelope full of pictures). I obviously haven't been doing that, but I thought maybe I'd try (maybe I was inspired to change the name of this blog a few years ago from "bitter diatribe is redundant" to it's current flying state). Maybe I should lay off the parentheses. They're addictive.

So. Happy thing from yesterday is unfortunately kind of easy, and by "unfortunately," I should mean I have to stretch to find something I wouldn't normally see. But I'm just warming up here, so I'm going to count it. Last night was a Charity night, meaning a $5 pizza and several hours of good and random conversation. We've already discussed our deepest darkest; last night we finally got around to comparing our TV watch list. Which reminds me: if I had started this happy-a-day thing on Tuesday, I so would have listed the first few minutes of this week's Castle. Nathan Fillion, I love you*. (Or I love the writers of the shows that make me love you.)

*In a non-creepy, non-obsessed kind of way. I'm saving that kind of love for someone special.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

cut it out.

This is what my hair looked like last Saturday.

This is what it looks like now.

But wait, Larry. I can't tell if she likes it. Look at her face.

Pretty serious for a new haircut.

I think she likes it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

(unrequited) love and salsa

Limited edition salsa. For Sarah (I'm not talking in the third person.)

There is a blog post here, but I'm not sure what it is.

I'll sleep on it.

I should be sleeping right now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

this is just to say

last night my prof described my most recent offering as "precarious," "weird," and "marvelous."

I know the success of a poem doesn't depend on a prof's feedback, but dammit, that felt good.

Monday, October 12, 2009


This time last week, I kind of wanted to die. Or at least stay in bed for an extended period of time. Which may not have been a bad idea. But tonight--well, like the title says, I'm wired. (This will be a problem when I should actually be in bed. Which is now.)

This weekend was a little crazy, but good crazy, not crazy crazy. Friday night I hit Nevins with Sarah & co. long enough to drink one watered down Diet Coke (sad day) before running out the door, down the street, and to the El. Correction: I sauntered. The train took me to the Book Cellar, where John Koethe was reading. Yes, the poet who caused so much pain and suffering last week. It was penance (and kissing up to my prof). I ended the night with a Little Caesar's pizza and Charity, my favorite criminal defense lawyer.

Saturday I slept in-ish. I'm not sure what counts for sleeping in anymore, but it felt like sleeping in. I cleaned for a little while before hopping on the El again, this time to meet up with Tamry (who said I don't have any friends). We drove to Ikea, which is my kind of Disneyland. We were there at least four hours, which was just plain awesome. We bought lamps and picture frames and tables and chairs and some brilliant bookends in the shape of the letter B (which makes me think of a Muppet Family Christmas when Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street corner Doc from Fraggle Rock and name the letter that every word Doc says starts with. He ends the conversation by saying he's going to make some bunkbeds--"Bunkbeds! B words!" It's got to be on YouTube. . .It is! See bottom of post. Oh, just go there now.). We ended the outing at California Pizza Kitchen. Yum yum yum.

Sunday was another busy/crazy day. I actually woke up early, which was a problem because (1) it was Fast Sunday, and (2) my branch now meets at 3:00, which means eating doesn't happen until 6:00 at the earliest. But I distracted myself with reading and some light cleaning and emailing Seth before my visiting teachers stopped by. And then it was off to the races. The weird thing was, I like this building better and the time isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Church was pretty good, and we had a break the fast. The food was okay, but when you've been fasting all day, it was amazing. (Actually, there was a cheesecake that deserved that adjective.)

This has been a long post, brought to you by the letter B and the number 12, as in what time it is. So I guess we'll just have to wait until tomorrow for the poetry smackdown that was class this evening. Good night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

i'm in love

I've decided to use letters in my apartment. I know it's a random decorating choice, but it's one that makes me happy. That being said, I think I need one of these letter pillows (custom made out of retired suit jackets!).

the way you felt yesterday afternoon

I realized, just after I hit "publish," that while I had thought and felt every single thing I wrote yesterday, I didn't necessarily believe what I had written. It would be easier, or at least a different kind of hard, to live a different life. I have a full-time job. I could stop going to school, stop writing, etc. I've made this choice to live this life and I'm going to live it.

I wanted to tell you that I survived yesterday, survived last night. That my line breaks are shoddy and I drift off into adjectival fragments and my writing requires thought and revision. That in the last line of the penultimate stanza, she wrote "ah!" That my writing is worth thought and revision.

Thank you for letting my cry on your shoulder last night. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some writing to do.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Yesterday I wrote a poem. Considering my level of production over the past few months, this was a momentous occasion.

Or should have been.

It was an assignment. After reading John Koethe, I was supposed to "imitate the features that most interest you." He struck me as a next-generation New York school poet--Frank O'Hara meets the philosophical (which is an obvious reading: Koethe's PhD is in philosophy and the poem I linked you to is about hanging out with Ashbery and O'Hara--but I didn't know that when I read the first set of poems I was given). There's also some lines he's pulled from Eliot, but I'm not sure I was supposed to notice that--it suggests an unhealthy love of Prufrock, which in turn suggest the anti-social status of my existence.


The poem was an assignment, and Koethe had one long, sectioned poem. The stanzas were tercets and each section had a different rhyme scheme. I was intrigued by an "axb bxa" scheme, and set out to imitate that, along with his ten-syllable lines.

This is a complete antithesis of everything I've been writing over the past year. My form has collapsed into what Kim Johnson generously terms "unlineated verse," and what Jeff Tucker dubbed "parastanzas." I love my loose, wandering poems--maybe too much. It was revealing to construct a poem with a strict form, to attempt rhymes and meter again.

I'm not sure what I found. I'm not sure what it is. What scares me is that, without knowing I was headed in that direction, the poem was in a garden. It was concerned with telling a story over and over again, revising and redirecting the reader's attention. It's the same poem I've been writing, only with an obvious, definable form.

I said it scares me, and it does. What if I can only write this poem: the couple in the garden. I know it's a classic subject. It's been done before, it will be done again. But is my mind so preoccupied with relationships and religion that I can't write anything else? If this is all I can write, should I be writing?

Should I be writing? This blog used to be a place where I offered up my worst fears, often the worst version of myself. I'm not asking if I should stop writing. But this career and life that I'm pursuing, am I worthy of it? Is my writing worthy of it? I love teaching, and you don't have to be a writer to teach. I love literature, and you don't have to be a writer to read. Is this MFA, this time I'm taking to "write," is it worth it? Not just for me, but for the people I could be with, the students I could be teaching.

I leave for you my exercise in form and humiliation. I'm terrified of class tonight, terrified to hear my professor--a poet I respect--tell me I shouldn't be a writer. What if she said that? Would I listen?

If I were to tell this story again—
We start our walk slow across the garden,
Our steps lingering on uneven stone,

On the uneven edge of garden grown
To mimic a field, the world uncluttered.
But the grass was trimmed and clean around when

We walked gate to garden, garden to door.
We walked apart, peregrines unaware
Of path, our hands grasped in prayer uncommon

Father, forgive us, Father, know us. Amen.
And in the garden, our grasped hands blossom,
Bloom red, bloom white, bloom and bloom and put your

Hand against my hand. This was the story—
We walked into a garden ungated,
My hand at your elbow, holding where flesh

Meets flesh, tentative embrace—our mouths left
Free to pray. We walked into a garden,
Sat under blooms and trees and somehow we

Watched the world, our garden, fade. Again our
Story. You, me, the garden. An easy
Comparison to everything that came

Before. We walk in the garden, come
To believe in grass uneven, in blooms
And trees and then the winter, in the hour

When our world turns and you are gone. I walk
Into the garden, outline the path
With careful steps, with the white bloom of snow.

My hands chap red, leave markings you would know—
This was our story. We walked into a
Garden. We walked in a garden. We walked.

Friday, October 02, 2009


I had a sudden moment of clarity this morning as I was balancing on the lid of my toilet, trying to angle the mirror over the sink in order to re-consider the outfit I was wearing.

I really need to buy a bigger mirror.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

believe it

So, oh ye of little faith, I'm blogging. Blogging blogging blogging.

Fact: It helps to have something to blog about. For the past I don't know how long, I've been composing posts in my head. Last night I was reciting something brilliant about how the entire world is pregnant (not in a Keatsian "season of mist and mellow fruitfulness" kind of way, but in a pregnant pregnant kind of way). It's all gone now--although the entire world is still pregnant.

What, then, should I blog about? The usual late night angst and anxiety isn't present, which makes little to no sense. I live for, thrive on, my late night angst and anxiety.

Yesterday, at Institute, we discussed talents and gifts, how we develop them, how we maintain them.

Thesis: I have a talent for being alone.

I'm sitting in my studio-ish apartment (we'll take the tour in the near future and you'll see why it isn't a true studio), quite satisfied with the little world I'm slowly creating for myself here. It might have something to do with the vintage Royal typewriter sitting on the desk I managed to reassemble (courtesy of my friend Sarah) or the Belle and Sebastian posters that arrived yesterday. But really, I'm just happy in my space. Happy. Not a word you often see on this blog.

Returning to the world-is-pregnant, I mentioned this to a friend last night. I hope she doesn't mind my repeating this, but her response was "I know. And I keep hoping you'll meet someone and get married and be pregnant too." My first thought was, Please no. Not right now. Future, yes, sure, bring on the offspring. But I'm good alone. I'm trying to understand this life that I somehow find myself living. It's not what I expected--it's nothing that I expected. But it's my life.

Cue Bon Jovi.

And guess what. I'll see you tomorrow.

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