Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10:21 a.m. on a Tuesday


1. This afternoon, I'm chauffeuring/chaperoning three 16-year-old girls to a Taylor Swift concert. That sentence sounds funny, but I'm in a hurry and don't feel like messing with syntax or grammar. I am the last-minute "compromise." I will say here since I know teens don't tend to read the blogs of 50something mommy/poets that I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan. I am, however, a fan of teens.

2. MFA. Because I crept in late through the back door (sort of), I'm missing some bits of information that will get me from the Now to the residency, which starts July 23. Once I have the information I need (for instance, the workshop manuscript. Is there a "rubric" for this?), the thrilled Lizzie will maintain dominance over terrified, self-deprecating Lizzie. Although self-deprecation is one of my forms of self-defense, I think I need to shed that bad mama, at least internally. I believe in my work. Even when I read the poetry faculties' poems and think, "They're going to hate my shit," that thought is a lie. I believe in the power not just of poetry in general to conquer my bratty side, but in the power of my own poems. I write for a reason, many reasons. Although I adore writing fiction, poetry is my drug of choice. I'm not a bad poet. Strike that. I'm a good poet who can be a better poet. I will hold onto my self through these next two years, make sure I get what I want and need out of this program because I'm old enough to understand that I don't have time to get in my own way or to let anyone else get in my way. I know what I want to do, know the kinds of poems I want to write, have a vision, hazy maybe, but a vision.

3. This past weekend, I touched a "thin place." For me, thin places are more than actual geographic locations. They are spiritual moments when joy collides with sorrow, when the wall between me and God thins, and I understand (though I can't quite articulate) the meaning of grace.

4. In the fall, I am going to be too busy, but I can't wait. I will be putting in 25 to 30 hours a week on MFA work, teaching two poetry workshops a week at 90 minutes each session (with double that for preparation time), trying to get in some volunteer time with the high school marching band, raising my teen daughter (well, frankly, she's to the point where she is raising herself with practical support from her parents). It will be happy madness.

5. To ensure that I do not wear out in the fall, I have to improve my physical stamina. My old NordicTrack is still set up in the basement. She waits. If I can find time to read blogs and linger on Facebook, I can sneak in 20 minutes a day on Miss Piggy. I don't care if I drop weight. I just want to feel less tired, and I think moving my body will help.

6. I appear to be letting go of the online poetry workshop I've been taking. I haven't been able to connect with the lovely teacher to see if I can change the way I manage it. The new prompt is wonderful. I started two different poems for week six, but got so busy, I couldn't find the time to finish either. I'll jot prompt seven down in my journal and pretend I can write through the concert this evening, though I doubt that will happen. I don't have the time or energy to comment on the other poets' poems, though, so I will change the way I do the workshop myself.

7. I'm a little sorry that between now and July 23 I won't have time to work on any fiction. I wonder if I can sneak a little fiction writing for pleasure into my schedule.

8. Laughing at myself. I'm delusional if I think I can go from being "slacker poet" to super mom/writer/student/volunteer in two months.

9. I don't know, though, maybe delusional is the way to go.

10. I'm behind. I need to get through morning ablutions, return some things to the library, gas up my car and then retrieve my child from summer gym.

11. This will do for a bad post for now. I want to write my way through the summer, preparations for the MFA residency that will coincide with my daughter's preparations for band camp, the residency itself, the aftermath, how I will fall back into band booster volunteer work by being on the waffle batter crew in August (our band raises money by selling waffles at football games, the county fair and other events) and then riding buses to away games (and helping with uniforms, helping the kids to hide their hair under the uniform hats if they want).

12. Definitely a bad post, but a post nonetheless.


  1. I love how you describe the "thin place" and I know that place. It's a little hard to get there, and to be there even - it's so poignant and raw. But then when I'm not there I remember it fondly.

    You are stating out loud your aspirations, which makes it harder to deny them. It's bold, and scary, and gorgeous to witness. You're inspiring me to dare to take on the bigger projects, the things that really matter...

  2. Taylor Swift - EEEEEK!!!

    MFA - WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!! (I'm a little jealous)

    Bad post - NOT!

    Thin places - have been touching a few of those lately too - kind of like rubbing a sore spot but not. Oh dear. Words are failing me.

    Best of luck for your busy summer! I hope you have some time to keep us updated on your blog x