Tuesday, August 28, 2007

schedule is as schedule does

so we're in residency this week. each day considering a different aspect of our studies. quite an effective means of getting busy people to focus and accomplish. i'm impressed with the system. albeit a bit lost at times, but i just jump through the next hoop and all ends well.

today we had to look at our schedules.

i thought i had mine figured out, but it turns out, she's a beast and won't roll over easily.

work is taking a toll. i close some five days a week and we have a skeleton crew right now. we need more people. all the college girls went back to work and it's just an awful lot of time to work. but i'm grateful.

our a/c went out and got fixed again in the space of three days, which is the quickest turn around yet.

my major emphasis at school had changed from jung to native spirituality. i never saw that one coming. but i'm excited.

i have a mountain of dishes just calling out to me, wanting me to go caress them and wash them, and love them. so i shall.

this is how i live my life, moving from the next thing to the next thing. it works though it isn't very restful these days. the holidays are coming and i don't even know what that will look like in retail (YIKES!).

i try not to think about it. just focus on what i can now.


Friday, August 24, 2007

small town cafe

i'm walking around mainstreet usa, and there is this little diner type jobbie i want to eat at. i go in, the place is packed. always a good sign. the first time i was there, it was packed too. the stools at the bar, with the covered glass cake dishes and kitchen in view were not where i had in mind to eat, so i asked to be let out (a small herd of teenage boys entered right after me), and i left. hoping to miss the lunch rush.

so i walk down the street back to my parked car, which is docked at the library. i have been doing school there all day, since my daughter wanted me to stay and see her ride today.

having done that, i went back to the diner to find it closed until dinner.


this is why a small town would never work for me.

i like to be in places no one else is. to eat at a table overlooking the street and linger over an iced tea while i read or write.

this is not going to happen in this lifetime in this small town. the place is stuffed to the gills with probably about ten tables, all of them too close to the neighboring tables for my own peace of mind.

so, i walk back to my car and i'm hungry but i don't just want to eat. i want to experience. today's modern eateries are an entirely different kind of experience than i want.

so i will wait. until i get home at 4:40, just before dashing out the door to go to work. yesterday i ate dinner in the car. may happen that way again.

i don't know.

but sometimes morning comes and i'm ravenously hungry and i realize it has been a long, long time since last i ate. because it's not that i don't like food, or eating it. i just don't like the way food comes to me these days.

too often, it's harried.
more often than not, i'm alone. we've perfected communal isolation in my house, which is simply pathetic and i don't know how to change it or if i have the strength to change it. (or the desire.) though this kind of nonrelating does not work for me.

having said that, some part of me thinks it must work or i'd change my life.

well, let's just say i'm changing my life, but like the titanic, she don't corner on rails. she's a beast, and it takes a lot to see response.

i'm around a whole new tribe of people and the stimulation is great. poems are not coming just yet, but they will. they always do. all i have to do, is trust.

now if i could only find some place to eat.

Friday, August 17, 2007

diversions galore

i start school today. last night when sleep was eluding me, i remembered. i put my fist up in a black power kind of way and said,

a moment of delight in the midst of darkness. i guess sometimes even the moon peeks through the clouds.

so i popped out of bed, early. went out and did tai chi, first time in five days. i've been letting myself "rest" as it were. not a good choice for me spiritually. i need to be outside, and while i would go out to take out bunny, i was just too tired to stay, sometimes diving back in bed after putting him out.

the good news for bunny is, he's grown to a size that he can't escape the harness. so he can be outside on a tether (i'm embarrassed to say what) and sit under a bush all day long. he seems to like this as evidenced by his refusal to move. the whole day, same bush. he's dug out a nice smooth lying spot. on really hot days, he just hunkers down and waits it out. like any good bunny.

i came home after a poetry read last monday, it was late, dark. i went and followed the tether and there was an empty harness on the end.

i had forgotten to bring him in. but my daughter is in the habit of bringing him in.

so when i was unlocking the door, i was mourning my lost bunny. so sad i was. beating myself up for being a lowsy bunny owner.

then, to my delight, i flick on the kitchen light and he lifts his big grey head and throws back those ears so he can see, and greets me with a twitching nose.

i took him in my arms and held him for a bit. apologizing for my many shortcomings. bunny is very forgiving. his twitchy pink nose is nice to kiss.

he half closes his eyes when i hold him, inverted, like a baby, dangerous scratchy claws pointed up toward my face (not the best idea) but i know when he's going to pop like a spring. his whole body shudders first.

i place my hand on his little furry chest and scratch under his chin. i can feel his heart racing. i hold him until he calms down and rests in my arms. swaying back and forth with him.

last night one tear slipped out of his eye. i wiped it away and kissed him.

that will have me stewing for days, that one tear.

but i didn't cry last night. first time in a long while. maybe bunny cried for me.

school starts in just a few moments, and i'm ready for it. i realize, i have the kind of mind that needs myriad diversions. but my point is not to ignore my pain, or make light of it (or make worse of it than it actually is), but to be honest.

i'm looking forward to the challenge school will provide, the necessary diversion. just as work has become a beacon of functionality to me.

somehow, i am whole there.

my heart still aches, but i have things to do. responsibility.

oddly enough, a lifesucking job has been my liferaft of late.

to meet my professors i go.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

i am with you

the nights are the hardest,
i told her.

she asked.

because i'm all alone.

you are surrounded by so many who love you.

i am?

yes. do you not see it?


i am with you.

then let that be enough for me, tonight.

it comes on me this quivering quavering timidity. this hold me, i'm lost in the woods and it's dark feeling. and i can't get out from under it. sometimes it suffocates me and i can hardly brave the next moments, the next heartbeats, so alone i feel. so alone.

but then, on my bleak horizon, dawn breaks. and i am reminded of the new day. to just put one foot out, one more time. and it will be well.

tonight she rescued me again when i was foundering on rocks, jagged and tearing rocks that threatened to down my seaweary vessel.

she brought her light, and shined on me, just a glimmer.

in the vast darkness, the oppressive darkness, just a match will do.

she tethered me to her, and brought me safely in.

tonight i rest, knowing, she understands.

asking again the same questions i always ask, do i have the power to change my life? or am i merely a player? how will this turn out? does anyone know? can i rewrite the tragedies of my life and make them something lifegiving, or am i destined to wander in search of the crust of bread i have long been denied? is my bread stale beyond hope, though even a stale crust is a feast for the famished. or is my bread freshly baked, melt in your mouth fresh. the kind of bread that satisfies thirst as well as hunger.

i do not know. i no longer know. i've attained a whole new place of unknowing. something of a routine has caught me up in its swell and i seem to be going on a strength not my own.

i'm never quite sure how i manage a day. let alone a week or month.

the dreams still come to me. i still have hopes for the future, tarnished though they may be. i still have great ideals and wonder if they will ever come to fruition.

am i powerless to change my own life?

this question haunts me.

i asked her this tonight, she said

it is probably the only thing you can change.

which is comfort enough, for tonight.

Monday, August 13, 2007

if only i could teleport

then i'd be just like nightcrawler,

i was kicking the girls outside today (didn't your parents or caregivers open the door and shove you out into the nice weather during the day? mine did). and today, i felt that way, like i needed children to be out of doors so i could do what needed to be done inside.

i'm on day six of a seven day run, and my feet hurt. but other than that, i'm okay. i'm not half the bitch i thought i'd be by now. though my daughter might disagree with that.

i am behind in editing and find my mental knives dull after standing on my feet all day. maybe it's all the training too. maybe it won't take so much out of me when this is all old hat and i can mindlessly do my job. but right now, there is so much to remember.

i never realized all the went into running a store. and while i forgot a couple small details, i remembered everything else. and i'm so grateful. so very grateful for my work, which gets me out of my house, which is better than being parked on the couch.

feel like the only people i see now are my coworkers and our customers. but hopefully that will change. i missed a poetry gig tonight, one that i host, because i had to work. i don't like that trend. but i chalked it up to the necessary evils of training and hope it won't become habitual.

there's so much to say, yet there is nothing to say. i find myself approaching that wordless place again. there is no news, for sure. but hopefully i'll learn to rejoice in this season. fall has begun in retail anyway. and i'm glad. i'm ready for the cold blast to return.

i haven't exerienced a real winter yet, so maybe that will change. but for now, i still love winter. and the promise of spring. hopefully i'll get to enjoy the colors more than i did last year (which, aside from oohing and aahhhing while driving, i didn't get to really experience them).


Thursday, August 09, 2007

when what we want becomes reality

my feet are a bit tired and i won't have a day off work until wednesday. i hadn't expected to be baptised by fire, but, here we go.

i am hoping this is not a mistake. though, anything worthwhile requires great effort. so i will chalk it up to that. the effort needed to produce a result. and try my best to do a good job.

the ac broke at work again, so it feels like hell in there. but we are managing to keep our spirits up.

looks as though all my hard work at attaining that elusive degree have not been in vain and i'm essentially free and clear to study what my heart desires. which pleases me more than you can imagine. to be given free reign. that is what i desire.

to be told, do your best, and we are here to help you.

that is what i have hoped for.

in reading through the preparatory materials, it seems the faculty serves in a mostly advisory capacity, and the rigors of this degree will be measured by writing. my objectives set, i will lean into the wind and press forward. i can do this. i must do this.

i hope the work schedule calms down a bit, before the school workload picks up. if it do not, i shall make it work anyway. there is more to me than a feminine frame. and i am ready for this challenge.

i must go workout now. up to 400 situps. and i get weighed and measured today. hope it's good news.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

editorial privileges

one of the best things about being an editor is reading unpublished works. of course they come in all varieties, the ones that will never be published, the ones that may not get published but because of market weirdness and audience issues. timing, that could be chalked up to. and the ones that are in the chute to be published.

of course confidentiality is essential. i make it a point never to discuss my projects with anyone. save, i'm editing a novel. or whatever.

it does come up, sometimes over dinner, when i manage to fumble upon a group of people i must sup with (though i try to avoid those instances).

it came up at a poetry workshop i was at, supping over lunch. i briefly named the work, but nothing else.

being that most of what i do now is in the christian realm when i deal with the secular poets i happen to be around, there simply isn't any interest in what i'm editing. which is fine by me. ask me no questions, i tell you no lies.

though i have come right out and said,
i don't discuss my projects.
when i was in a christian crowd that was interested and i couldn't see any other way around it.

the thing about it is, i stopped reading in the middle of a chapter today and emailed the author. we dialogued a bit.

and i am spoiled this way, to have such a boon of talented writers around letting me peer over their creative shoulders and caress their newborn babes. that is kind of what it feels like, midwivery. not that i'm so integral to the birthing process, though sometimes the works come to me at that stage, but mostly, i'm the doting godmother, dressing up their words and cleaning up dribbled chins.

my friends do not need my help. that they want my help, is a blessing. and since my actual resume is scoffable, i need them to help me build a solid working resume so i can get my foot in the door of some publishing house.

though i have always wanted to start my own.

ultimately, i will end up there, publishing works on my own. i've dreamt it many times. it's the marketing aspects i would need to figure out. i'm not strong in that department.

but i'm learning so much.

and the work is consistent. i've been at it about four years, and have about thirteen projects under my belt. most have gone on to publication, which is more a testament to the skill of my friends than mine. they are the superstars, but we all need a helping hand, it seems.

they help me by letting me read them. unedited and chime in on their works. such a privilege.

i help them by wiping those dribbled chins. and making babies smile.

my dear friend said to me once,
you're spoiled.

i replied.
is that a bad thing?

not necessarily.
he answered.

i would not, for all of me have the life of another. mine is simply mine, and i'm grateful for it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

i don't really know.

what would make you happy?
he asked.

a chair.
i said.

i would send you a chair right now if that would make you happy.

no. i don't really know.

the question sticks in my mind now, as i am in from work, and while one fresh in from a full day of work is not usually jumping for joy, i feel a heaviness i did not feel at work. (which is why i work.)

it was a good day. my first time sort of managing, but i was not alone. my favorite manager was in the stock room banging out the boxes. so i was flapping my wings mightily, but mother bird was looking over my shoulder (from a comfortable distance) all the while.

the customers, without exception were very kind and patient today. and it was very slow, but we still got very close to making our sales goals. (which is all good!) because when the line is half way through the store, the fitting rooms are all backed up and someone is learning how to be managerial, it's such a pressure cooker. i was grateful, so, so grateful for all the kind patient souls today.

the day flew by, which is nice. but i'm working five days (six, if you count today) this week and i've been known to be a bit crabby after three days. i hope it goes well.

i'm trying to remember to take care of me in all this rush and hurry. so much looking after the little one, making sure the husband has what he needs that mom gets lost in the shuffle. this is always the case for moms. but i aim to keep track of what is going on with me, too.

steven covey's seven habits of highly effective people has a calendar design that he recommends, not just considering appointments, but all the hats you wear, and maintaining your person (sharpening the saw). reminders all, of priorities that must be, need be, upheld.

so i'm getting organized with my life about to kick into over drive. i sat musing over my visual file (aka, artist's collage), which i was going to leave in texas thinking i didn't need it anymore, but my best friend folded it up and shoved it in the moving truck, she wouldn't let me leave it behind. and i'm so grateful. for all the people who take care of me and i don't even realize it, i'm grateful.

there is this line on my collage that reads:
he became the baseline everyone else is the deviation.

and there is so much on there about dreams, goals, happiness, becoming.

if we could force something to be, i will be happy. i will rejoice. i will be whole.

i'm not sure how, or when, or where, but this too must come to pass. it simply must.

i will not live unhappily ever after. i refuse.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

critiquing poetry

there really is no secret to critiquing poetry.

i used to be of the poetry cannot be edited set. not so any longer. i understand the poet cannot always see a flaw, just as a writer cannot always find the typo in his prose. it is no different.

i do not edit work for sport. i do it for those who request it and can handle it. show me once you cannot handle it and i will recuse myself the honor.

responding honestly is the key.

there is no right or wrong in poetry. it is utterly subjective. i know there are forms and styles and big ten dollar words we can throw about, but aside from all that, does the poem speak to you? what is it saying? how could it be said better, differently to your ear?

of course, the poet may not take to this suggestion, but suggestions are not offered with the maxim, this is gospel. otherwise it is not a suggestion, it is a mandate. and who needs that?

when i respond to a poem, i simply tell the poet what they have stirred up in me. what their lines are reminiscent of. or if those things do not congeal into anything solid i can stand upon, i simply say, yes.

yes is a great word. an understanding. an affirmation. an applause, together at once.

if there is a repetition in words, sometimes this lends itself to the poem. it serves the poem, that is verbiage i use a great deal.

does it serve the poem?

if my desire to cut your lines does not serve the poem. ignore it.
if my cleaning up your phrasing does not serve the poem, forget about it.

there is no rule that one must revise.
though there is no rule that one must not revise.

it is the happy union of the two that matters. finding the balance between honoring your voice (which, first you must know without doubt), and trusting the reader.

as a critical reader, i can offer a few suggestions. but my suggestions come only from my subjective pool. the more subjective pools you can draw from, the better, perhaps your poem will be (or the more watered down, one could argue).

there have been poems that only a select few get.

i'm willing to let those poems be misunderstood. this serves the poem.

there have been poems that i've clearly flubbed the delivery. and must be edited, this serves the poem.

there have been poems i'm so committed to, i will not change a word. this serves the poet. but we are not without passion, are we?

though i love to hear what you have to say as long as you remember a suggestion is merely that. a suggestion.

i do not offer poetry critique as a mandate. no one should.
there is no authority on the subject. there are only greater and lesser subjective pools from which to draw.

i have the works of a dear poet which is full of potential edits.
i love these works and cannot, will not, for the life of me, edit them.

will they ever be published? i hope so.
will they need to be edited? probably.

does that make the poem better? perhaps. but i don't think better is the issue. i think accessibility is the issue.

a finely edited poem is more accessible than an unedited poem, in many cases.
though, i would rather have a forum, a place where poets hone their voices and do not need perfection.

are these the works that would be published? can they be published?
perhaps not. but we ask too much of the muse, if we ask only for publishable works. for monetary gain, for fame.

i ask only for poetry. undignified. undiluted. unedited poetry.

through the process of time, and life, the works refine.
they will not all be worthy of acclaim, but that is not the point.

the point is, poets are writing poetry.

that has only ever been the point.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

unexpected kindnesses

the song line that keeps going through my head lately is,
we are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
it reminds me of a line from a beloved poet i know.

times when darkness, thick, heavy, impenetrable darkness falls
and one is left groping, only to find a hand reach out and grasp the once flailing, your now tired and still lying hand.

these unexpected kindnesses come when those closest to us deem us, stuck. we lose them in the fog, and are grateful for the cloak of it. to hide our pain at their weariness of our grief. five months is not long for one mired in sorrow. five months is a blink of an eye, and the breadth of a sigh. the well of tears still flows and one can only retreat from those who want the griever to be unstuck.

the way of grief is a tedious journey. i have traveled this road before. six months was no time at all. two years and i had finally stopped breaking down.

if i am stuck, then let me be stuck.
what does my acknowledging my stuckness and agreeing with your estimation of my stuckness have to do with anything? except that it wedges a distance between us that cannot be easily broached.

do you think the griever wants to grieve and never let another in?

of course not.

is this the conscious thought of one draped in sorrow?


but today. just today, i hold my heart the only way i can. open it to the ones who will not pour vinegar on these wounds.

and shut out all the rest. until such a time as i can emerge strong enough to withstand scrutiny.

and always, i am grateful for the hand, reaching out.
however uncertain we both may yet be.