Monday, March 21, 2011

what's real

I would like to stop
over thinking.
Lately, as in since early last month,
possibilities have fallen across my feet
as I've jogged in place,
panting with effort,
going nowhere.

(the jogging is metaphorical
I can't jog any more. Bad knee,
bad hips)

Learned about a not-that-far-away university
with a decent MFA program.
Then the administrator
of the program (not director)
came to our local writers group
to talk about poetry,
writing and publishing.

I know the program director's brother.
I know how to get to the school.

Did I apply?

Started to
then staggered
when I had to write
about self
but not in this flowing
self-indulgent way,
in a way that would sell me
as product
or team member.

Stuck.
Stumped.

Yesterday's youth play
led me to a flyer
about that improv class
just when I've been thinking
about how much I miss
performance.

Tonight, I went to the video store
to return some DVDs and rent one more,
a bad habit in which I indulge
(my word for the day appears to be "indulge")
when my Girl is off at her dad's.

A large poster in the window
advertised employment opportunities.
After a hilarious conversation
with one of the staff members
about her weeping through a film
while her exhausted husband snored
next to her on the sofa,
I said, "So, are you guys hiring?"

"Yes," she said. "Tomorrow, in fact,
open interviews from 4 to 6. It would be
so good to find employees
who don't put keggers over coming to work,
who understand the definition
of responsibility."

That poster went up 10 days
after I learned
my "support" income
would be cut
by 60 percent.

I know the job
wouldn't pay much,
whatever job
it ended up being,
but my reality is
that I need work.
Even $200 a week,
for instance (a random number
I plucked out of the dusty air
because I like two hundred.
It matches my matronly figure)
would be $200 more
than I'm making now.

Thinking about work
makes me think about more work,
about actively seeking
freelance work,
more actively submitting
poetry and fiction,
makes me think
about entering contests
and applying for grants.

"Work" is a four-letter word
the way "love" is a four-letter word,
at least to me,
at least today.

It may not work out.
I may flake or talk too much
about my responsibilities
to my Girl, about getting her home from school,
to her drum lesson,
about chaperoning the band kids
during away games, working Bonanza of Bands
(wait. Never again).
I may need too much time off
if I do apply to school
and need to attend
the residency portion
of the program.

It's low-paying, mind-numbing work.
I could end up working to midnight some nights.
I could get confused when making change
(yeah. I'm an old fart who has forgotten how to add)
(just kidding).

They could decide
that hiring a 52-year-old poet/band booster mom
is a really bad idea.
And it's not like this is an awesome, world-changing,
people serving, career building kind of job.
It's simply work.

But you know what?

I can't win if I don't enter.

The damned doors are open.

I need to start walking through them.

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