Sunday, November 28, 2010

it's not a toyota, it's a car

i have come to understand the major issue of my paper to be this. i was making too many fine distinctions in a realm where i need to merely make an argument. i was sorting sand from grains of rice but that was not the task set before me. now, i have to figure out how to meet criteria i'm not entirely sure of and the only thing i can come up with is, go big. it's not in the minutia, it's in the broader scheme of things. i tend to focus in too closely. hell, i made keats and oliver talk about obe's. my argument was too pointed. i need to broaden the expanse without generalizing. what i've come to understand this to be is, i was making the distinction, it's a toyota camry. when all i really needed to say was it's a car. no one really cares that it's a camry. that's my nuance. they care only that i make a solid case for it being a car.

four wheels, an engine, headlights, gas pedal. = car.

i have spent the better part of the last four days mourning my paper as was. i think i'm ready to let it go, to launch it out into the proverbial sea in a bottle, in hopes of actually passing this semester. this program has always been wrong for me, i chose to stick it out because i want an mfa degree, for no reason other. they are not teaching me anything here that i will necessarily directly benefit from. because i'm not that kind of writer. i'm an entirely different species of writer.

what i need to do is get my style of writing, my method, or process, out there. perhaps it will help other artists. perhaps not, but it is what i am coming to understand. the degree is not the definition of anything other than a certain set of criteria. adhere to those standards, be gradable, then you can move on. you don't have to be brilliant, you don't even have to say anything original, just meet criteria.

i object to this approach with all my being, but i have a child to support. i want certain doors to open that i believe an mfa is the key to. first i must obtain the key. this path chose me in the way my life unfolds, so i have tried my best to reconcile it. to understand what exactly i'm supposed to take away from this experience aside from frustration. i'm still at a loss to answer that. the best thing has been the one solid connection i've made. i would do it all again for that because that is what matters to me. connection.

so, i have a week to try to say, it's a car not a camry in a way that is passable. i'm groping around blind here, but i think i've got it figured out. i didn't think it was supposed to be this way, that it would come to me grappling around in the dirt again saying,
i won't let you go until you bless me.

but here i am, arthritic hip, bent wings, very worn out. but still struggling for the blessing.

i have a child to support. i will do what it takes.

its also a car, i must remind myself of that. because while i believe with all my heart that the camry is first a camry, it is also always first a car.

i can do this.

i will do this.

i have a child to support.

Friday, November 26, 2010

out of my mind

i have walked away from it, the best i can. but it's always there, in the back of my mind. what i want, what i want to do. and i know i can't just give up. it's not my style. i don't know how to quit. i just keep swinging. i'm tired and frustrated is all.

my sweetie is on her way to me, and that's a wonderful thing. sometimes, alone is good. i forget how much i like to be alone, but now, i've got lots of alone time. i'm becoming my erratic, anti-social self again. by holing up, i lose my social graces, whatever remnants remain.

and i asked her,
you said i don't like to meet new people right

she said,
i mentioned how when i first met you, you got up and walked out of the room during our conversation.

she's now my best friend. the closest person to me at this particular point in my life. and i didn't give her the time of day until i was ready to open myself up to her. but then we bonded, and it's been fun.

she tells me that
master's programs are brutal.
that she told me this two years ago when i was starting this whole process. and i just have to say,
yeah, yeah,
because she's always right.

you have way more freedom than i did,
she says.

but these constraints, any constraints for that matter, feel like they will be the death of me. but i'm going to will myself through this. i am genuinely baffled though. maybe, when i turn to it again, today or tomorrow, i will understand what i've missed in a way i can address.

i want to move forward. i want to work on my creative work next semester, and i'm just afraid i won't. but i won't let that stop me. i acknowledge that fear and determine to do whatever it takes to pass. my conscience is such a damn bully though, i have to stay true to it. that's not a bad thing.

now how to fix this paper. how to remedy this situation.

i look forward to successful resolution.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my best shot

the thing about it is, i've held true to myself this entire time. it's always been a problem. why should that change now? i don't know that any artist has it any easier, we get a vision, we pursue it. try to convey it to the world, and are met with misunderstanding at best. it's troubling, but that vision doesn't fade. through the years, if you pursue it, it will gain contour and form, become palpable and like a friend. one i cannot betray now.

so i'm resigning myself to what will be. i can let go of this damned degree if that is the case. i don't really care either way. i'm tired of this. i am just trying to do something with my life, but what does that mean. does it mean i've failed if i don't pass this semester. hardly. it means i haven't met a certain criteria, though i have worked as hard as ever to do so. i have not measured up. no surprise there. it is not their definition that matters to me. it is mine.

i guess the thing that sucks is that far lesser (and by even acknowledging that thought, my ego threatens to rage out of control) artists are able to do this, why can't i? why won't i? because that's what it comes down to. will i or won't i? am i consciously trying to fail, of course not. it's just how it is. i have never worked so hard on a thing to be told it was shit. but i understand, it is not my style, not my anything, it is just a criteria i have to meet. or no.

that's the thing. i am trying to figure out now, how to salvage this, and i just don't know. if you genuinely give something all you've got, your best shot and then are told you fucked it up, how do you fix that? how do you remedy your best (ill-conceived attempts though they may be, if it's my best work, it's my best work bottom line).

i just don't know. so i walk away from it for now and focus on the details that i must.
looking to my life to save me now. my deadlines and duties to distract me from this discouraging turn of events.

if it didn't matter so much i'd just let it go and say fuck it. but it's my work. my poetry here. and i have to keep trying. though, at the moment, i'm not exactly sure what that means. as i said, i gave it my best shot. what else is there?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


well, my prof hates my paper. wonderful. where to go from here. i have to give it my best shot, and hope that is sufficient. i'm going to try to refrain from saying more than that because i am trying to be kind.

sometimes i wonder what this means, how can it be so off, so misconstrued. so confused. how can i miss the mark so completely.

what it feels like to me is this, i am a certain kind of writer, artist, poet. i am very color out of the lines. mix colors. play.

when i come into an academic arena, i want to meet criteria while also being true to myself.

at the moment, it feels very much like a pissing contest, and i hate those. so i will do my best to gut my paper of all offensive (to the academic mindset) stray coloring, and get this thing into the box the best i can.

will i succeed? i don't know. will i try my best, certainly. i've tried too hard for too long to let this one paper, this one professor stop me now.

it feels like it always feels, like it's personal. for me that's not a surprise because i am deeply invested in poetry. hell, it is who i am. i value nothing apart from it, and i regard nothing close to it. i have opinions, yes. but does that make them invalid because they are mine? i don't think so.

i always thought the purpose of education was to hone your voice. to be a truer you when you were done. to do your thing with panache.

now i'm finding, it's just about doing what your professor wants the way your professor wants it.

i never expected that this semester, particularly because of whom it is in question.

the bottom line is this, i'm being judged on personal criteria and hell, i bring it on myself. i am always putting myself out there. if i could stick to the strictures of prosody, if i could yammer on about how a poem means, i wouldn't be in this boat.

but i am in this boat.

i believe poetry is more than what the academics say. my bad for not being able to convey that convincingly yet, but not for lack of trying. if this is my last semester and my program ends here, so be it. but i will have done the best i could.

i genuinely thought i revised my paper to the best of my ability and was told i overrevised. HA how fucking hilarious is that. i'm not entirely sure what that means.

but i have one more stab at it, and won't go down without a fight.

i promise you that.

i don't just roll over, i don't know how.

the help i need is on the way.
i can do this, i will succeed. i know i can.

even if my professor doesn't agree.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

curiouser and curiouser

times they are a stranger. sometimes i forget myself who i am, where i'm headed, what i want. but i do know what i don't want, especially when it's staring me in the face.

sometimes i wish i could see what's down the road so i could plan. i plan as much as i can anyway, but i never know if my plans are actually going to come to fruition. i guess that is the story of every farmer. they plant, the tend, they wait, they harvest. my story is no different from any others, save that it is mine.

tonight i am leaning into the weekend, wishing it were here sooner than it will be, but knowing, it's better to be in the moment at hand than wish it away. even if it is uncomfortable or painful. there is nothing that happens without meaning.

so when i surprise myself, and behave in ways i wish i wouldn't. or when i'm surprised by the behavior of others who behave in ways i wish they didn't. i just have to cut everyone some slack and offer peace.

i want that more than anything.

i want to not be mistreated either. i won't accept it. i can't. i've worked too hard to change my life to accept poor treatment, and so, i will not.

it is strange, the past twenty four hours, but there was some purpose. something i will understand someday.

and perhaps it all unfolded as it should, though now i have to trust that is the case.

and soon, my love will be in my arms again, and i will be grateful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

finding time

i think i have approached this whole thing wrong. but there is always time to start again. and so today, i begin again. i will try to focus afresh and chart my course. no point wasting this downtime with fevered dreams. i've been tired but feel much better. my child is happy and that is all that i really can ask for. the rest is up to me. it always has been. what do i want to accomplish.

i've got a running list. some things have to be there. but i'm trying to remember the things i let fall along the way. the things that mattered to me but i haven't had time. mostly, i find that in friends. those who remind me of who i am. i have heard myself laugh more in the past year than i have in the past decade. i like that change. it bodes well for the future. laughter heals.

that's really the bottom line. i'm being restored.

it's not only about the physical state, its about all of it. i am just discovering lost parts of me. not sure i've ever really known who i am. i've never doubted i would find me, but i always thought it would take something else. not this. never this.

so i abandon myself to the process of living. and laughing.
i remember how to nurture those i love, and find, i miss it.

there will come a day when my real life, my work life, makes this nurturing possible.
that i can be a mom and an editor. that i can be a mom and a poet.

for now, i'm just learning to define what i truly want. what i need.
the language doesn't exist in some cases, so i go with a color of feeling.

and trust.

always trust.

in what,
she asked.

in goodness.

fear and worry breed scarcity,
i told her.
gratitude creates abundance and peace.

i had two dollars in my checking account the other night. i went to bed, grateful for that two dollars. certain it would be well. i chose to trust what i need will be there when i need it. in the frosty morning, i went to start my car to drive my girl to the bus stop and it would not turn over.
start walking,
i told her. she took off for the bus stop.

i got my car running and made it to the car place where i also got the oil change i was right on schedule for (my pony is immensely considerate to wait to break down until i have time and money to deal with it).

so, we're good. the money arrived. the car is fixed. the kiddo made it to the bus on time.

that is all i know. i'm grateful. immensely grateful for every unravelling mystery. for even the unresolved that i will never comprehend.

but i trust that which is mine will come to me.

the help i need is on the way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

this time i mean it

i did what i could and had a friend look at my paper, it needed help. so i worked it over. this morning, the day before my deadline i turned in my packet because i'm sick of looking at it. i haven't failed yet. and this pleases me.

i'm not sure what's next. i'm just checking things off, trying to get done what needs to be done by the next deadline. i genuinely have so many it's hard to keep them all straight. there was so much i wanted to accomplish, but mostly, just not failing is enough.

the rest is gravy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

in the curious way

of my life, i have completed, at last, the critical thesis. i have dotted the final i and crossed the final t. i hope to get signed off and move on with my life. though i have one more packet to pull up if i've nosedived and am delusional.

it's been a strange week. i'm not sure i understand what is happening, in me, out of me, beside me, around me. but i don't need to understand. i am just grateful for friends who love me and make time to help me heal. i have not been a very good friend in this season, but i simply cannot manage more than my daughter, myself, and my school at this moment. i want to, but i can't. don't have it to give, and what i've got, i'm pouring out on my child.

she seems happy enough. i love seeing her sleep, so sweet. so innocent. i'm grateful to have her here beside me, fully aware of who i am. fully engaged in our life together.

i do not know what tomorrow holds, but today, the sun is shining, my paper is finished, and i will make a cup of tea and go sit on the porch. it's all good. every last bit of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

what the

i'm not sure what i'm doing right now. hoping it all comes together, that the ends actually meet and i can move forward. i have been practicing gratitude lately. i am genuinely grateful for all that has transpired thus far. i welcome more goodness, more love, more trust, more faith into my life. but i'm not entirely sure i know what that means. will it be in ways i expect from the people i love. not necessarily. so, aptly, my daily horoscope reminds me of the buddhist principal of non-attachment, non-aversion. i'm not very good at maintaining that line, but i am trying. sometimes, i can. mostly, i lean more toward aversion. though my friends would say i lean more toward attachment.

it's a curious time when i'm home a lot. i'm supposed to be off my foot, and i am. but that means, what's left.

i guess i should go have breakfast with my friend today, i'm feeling a little caged.

i hate that feeling. everyone who knows me knows it leads to nowhere good for me.

so, i must get out. go sit somewhere other than here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


i've spent a lot of time, recently in my alpha state. there is a lot going on creatively, the major thing now is my critical thesis. which i can barely stomach rereading at this point but have to. i hacked off the intro yesterday and will begin trying to reformulate something. i'm waiting at the mall for an apple appointment so i can get my itouch to stop playing bad brains incessantly. i like them, but damn. i've got hundreds of albums on there, must i hear them every five minutes. i could just delete them, but i'd like a tutorial in this rather than trying to struggle with it. asking experts or in this case, geniuses is a much better idea for me who is lacking in both time and patience.

so, i have my thesis with me. i will take another stab at it today, and likely hack it to further bits. the scene is quite macabre.

meeting with my best friend today. that will be a nice change. i've spent most days home alone. my cats, most emphatically don't like metallica or blue october. no accounting for taste, that's all i got to say. but the thing is, my lady gave me a speaker dock for my ipod and the kitties have been skittish ever since. it took one day and a cat sitting in the window actually meowing in agony for me to connect the dots. come on, lars ain't that bad. bunny has adjusted, but this is, arguably, the first time the cats have actually heard my music.

on the cat front, all have been fixed or adopted out, and i have only three in my care now. much, much better than eight. i came home one day and there was a bunny, two teenage girls, and ten cats (four of them kittens) milling about my apartment porch. it looked like a scene from some bad movie. but all is well. we are moving on, moving forward. not reproducing.

so i am waiting for hot topic to open because last night i bought everything for myself one size too small. i can squeeze in, but i'd rather have breathing room.

then off to orange county for a day of hanging out with my bestie.

i must face my pages at some point. will do that when we're at her appointment and i stay in the car with nothing else to do. i must be forced to attend to my pages. sadly.

but it is progressing. i have the requisite pages and could conceivably hand it in, but i want this paper to rock. that's my problem. i want it to convey my meaning. not just meet a requirement. at the moment, it does not. i have a way to go yet.

but all ends well.

how does it?

i don't know. it's a mystery.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

look me in the eye

it's about ten minutes before our reading, i'm here. not really feeling it because my mind is on other things. are these distractions, not necessarily. they simply are.

my friends cannot come because that is how it works in my life, the people i love do not generally hear me read though the exciting part about this is, my girl is here with me. she has never seen nor heard me read except her lifelong private reading which have taken place in california, arizona, texas, new york, anywhere we happen to find ourselves. it's something to have her here with me.

and so i move forward in my life, it is all i know how to do. to get through a day. to open myself to wonder. and to hold myself open.

i forgot to publicize this reading because my heart and mind have been elsewhere,
are these distractions, not necessarily.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


the gods decided i needed a rest, and so i have one. unexpected, and i'm grateful. spent the day curled up beside one of my foundling cats and slept the rain away. there is a second of the eight souls i am now accountable for in my own mind, beside me purring away. i don't know how i became foster mother to these but they are here. i am at their disposal. three of them got fixed this week, and what a ride that was. two am, one is dangling from the miniblinds, and i'm hollering at it,
stop that.
like cats listen. the other two were up to mischief of their own, but very little topped the miniblind acrobatics. around four am, about twenty two hours post surgery, i booted them all out, bellies full into the wild. that is their actual home. momma impatient's home for foundling cats was closed. but too soon my child awoke and the day carried me away with it.

i went to the laundromat, then made my way to the doctor where the prognosis was not so good.
it may take weeks for this to heal
she said.

so what do i do?

i can't tell you what you can do, i can only tell you what you can't.

now, i'm in a window of found time and going to try to make the best of it. my foot needs to heal, but most of my work is mental. compiling lots of notes, finalizing my paper for this next packet, due the day of my next doctor's appointment.

i'm grateful for the rest. i'm exceptionally tired.

now to figure out what to do first, or after that pile of dishes i've been ignoring.

away to boston this weekend, and then home for a poetry reading. i've got fifteen minutes or so. i will likely read for ten. i'm pretty much over myself as a reader. i enjoy it. it always goes well. but i'm ready to get on with my life and become.

so much to do, i need to pace myself. and if today is any indication, all is well. all is very, very well.

my baby will be home soon, and that is a wonderful thing.

peace kids
may joy light upon you.