Sunday, May 29, 2011

are one two three

apparently deb is a life coach.

this means nothing to you unless you work in the office, and if you work in the office, you shouldn't be reading my blog.

anyway, deb is a life coach. I found this out when she kept referring to the "other" coaches, and I finally asked what they were coaching. they were coaching life.

apparently life coaches go on retreats to places with mountains. a lot of people like to bond with me over mountains. there are no mountains in chicago or evanston, but there is a lake, which anyone will tell you is east. and when you point out that you're in a city of skyscapers, etc, they will tell you that the lake is east and if you can't see the lake, you can feel it. feel the lake.

in utah, you can see the mountains.

this was supposed to be about deb being a life coach and her brief moment of coaching me when I told her "I don't know" what comes next, "I don't know" why I'm moving back to utah, "I don't know" what I want. except I do know. I just don't know if I can get to it--

so deb, who I would hire as a life coach if I had any money, but that's the first problem, told me to journal. she said that you have to put those thoughts about what you want out into the universe (she was looking up, and nervous to say God in the workplace, but she kept giving me these looks, and then nodding to the heavens. or the people on the fourth floor).

I wanted to say "I'm a writer. what do you think I've been doing?" I wanted to say, "uh-huh, sure." I wanted to say "I blog! does that count." except then deb, the life coach, would know that I have a blog and we don't talk about it in the office.

so I am blogging, which is as close as it gets to journaling. I figure this way I at least know that my universe is listening. and I've (just) decided that I get three wishes to send out there, life coach, journal-style.

wish one: I want roots. I have my family in utah, but the past three years have shown me that I can live and adapt anywhere. now I want a place that is my place. I want to paint walls and hang pictures and secretly wish that emily henderson was going to come over to conduct a style diagnostic. (careful about that link--it's addicting.)

wish two: I want a job. I would like it to be teaching or writing, but I was putting together my chapbook and thinking I could do document design and editing and be pretty happy with life. I'm going to write and teach (as mentioned in an earlier post) regardless of the job I hold. I'd rather it not be in finance, and I don't think I can work at a university without being jealous of the faculty and students, but other than that--I think I'm open. anyone need a writer?

wish three: roots, job, I know what comes next. and it's the hardest thing to put out into the universe, or whatever this is. roots, job, relationship. I've had a lot of time to do what I wanted to do, and to process past experiences. there are a few things I'd like to figure out before I'm all-in, but I'm kind of planning on addressing a few of those this summer. mostly because I'm not sure I can write a 15-page paper without ice cream.

so there you are, deb, life coach, universe. I put it out there. now let's see what you've got.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

can't go back now

I am become far too familiar with rejections. (I like the phrase "I am become," but it doesn't belong on a blog, does it?)

After enough rejections, you become immune. It hurts for just a moment, your pride twitches, and then you shrug your shoulders and wait for the next one.

Today's hurt a little more than most. I had (once again) half-convinced myself that this was it--my future--and it wasn't. But then I had emailed Chris in the morning, before I knew it was going to hurt, and asked him for a blessing. I'm so glad they made one of my best friends my home teacher. And when he called to say he could come, I was home, prepared to wallow my way through the evening.

Instead, I had a beautiful blessing, a visit with Chris and President K, two of my favorite people in Evanston, another job application to complete, and a crazy-wonderful response when I tried to find references for editing/writing jobs.

I've been so focused on what I don't have, that I forget what I do have. And what I have is a lot. Not just food and a roof (in the form of the perfect studio apt), but friends and family who are ready to cheer me on. A manuscript that keeps growing, and that I'm so happy with.

I have two weeks left of classes, two weeks to live this life, and then there's another waiting for me. And it's scary and awful and I want to chain myself to my desk and refuse to leave my apartment. But then I think of all the possibilities. That's what I have right now. I want to finish my manuscript, I want to publish, I want to write. And the teaching will come. But tonight I realized that I'm always going to teach. I have to put the writing first. I have to put the words first. "In the beginning was the word." Everything else will follow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

it is finished, 1711.

I have this poem, that I'm pretty happy with, that's about St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Actually, I have three poems about St. Paul's. And they are all called "Psalmist at St. Paul's" because for some reason no one likes the word peregrine.

But that's not what I came here to say.

The first St. Paul's poem is a bit of a history recitation. St. Paul's was built, destroyed, rinse, repeat, at least four times. The last time it was built they started in 1675, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It's the St. Paul's that is still standing. After twenty-two years, they were able to hold services. In 1711, they (I'm not sure who they are) declared the structure complete. And ten years after that they were still adding statues of the apostles to the roof, etc.

The poem plays with this idea of what it means to be "finished," arguing in the end that St. Paul's can't be completely finished until people come and experience the building, all of the building. The first two times I was in London I went to St. Paul's. I took the tour. I marveled. I'm an excellent marvel-er. But the third time, I went up. To the Whispering Gallery, and then the Stone Gallery. And that was the first time I'd ever been to St. Paul's. From the Stone Gallery, you have a view of London that I would argue is better than the view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. (I kind of hate the Eiffel Tower.)

Why am I telling you this now, four years after I climbed the steps of St. Paul's? Because this idea of finishing is very real tonight. I just put together the title page and table of contents for my thesis. It's done. And it's been done before--when I had written enough poems, when I revised those poems, when I compiled those poems, when I arranged the manuscript. And now it's finished again. And I still have a good twelve-or-so pages to write for it to be a full length manuscript.

I'm not sure a manuscript is ever finished. Because even if it's ever published, it won't be finished until it has a reader. And that journey will be completed every time a new reader comes to the poems. And then where do they go from there?

It's exciting to be at this point. I have a thesis. I'm going to graduate. But it's just as exciting--maybe even more exciting--to think about what comes next.

If you'll excuse me, I think I have a poem to write.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

good night moon

I don't know what to do with myself. The obvious answer is to go to bed. All I have wanted to do for the past week or two is go to bed. And now, tonight, when I could be in bed, I'm sitting on my bed (which is what you do in a studio apartment) not wanting to sleep. At all. Possibly ever.

The problem is, I don't want to do anything. I kind of want to work on the thesis. And I kind of want to watch an episode of Numb3rs. And I kind of want to. . . but no, not really.

I'm ready. Not to sleep. To move forward. I don't know what "forward" will be, but it's time. My thesis got the thumbs up from my professor yesterday, so all I need to do are some minor revisions. After that I need to finish my courses with a chapbook (!) and a 15-page paper on Ossian and Romantic literature. I like Ossian--I like all blind third-century fictitious bards. I just don't want to write a paper on him. But spending 15 pages with Wordsworth will make me jump.

So schoolwork, check. And work--well, I told them that I'm leaving. I had to submit a letter of resignation, which was odd. But on June 24, I'm saying good-bye to McCormick and co. And then sometime that next week, I'll drive off into the sunset to that great beehive in the west.

And then. I don't know. But let's not spoil this.

Maybe I do have some poet-ing in me tonight after all.

[P.S. Today was Claire's birthday. She's one and all smiles. I was trying to figure out how I would remember her birthday. I was reciting how Sam's is on the 24th of July and Abby's is burned into my memory, and Claire's was just a random day. And my co-worker looked at me for a minute, like she was waiting for me to catch on. I didn't, so she said, "You mean Cinco de Mayo?" Yeah, Claire. I won't forget.]

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