Monday, March 2, 2015

Mini-ice boulders and a lack of the lyric

(note: this is not a blog post, nor is it an essay; it's a journal entry that I just feel like sharing due to my terrible habit of excessive self-disclosure when I'm feeling blue.)

The snow plow driver cocked his blade toward the curb, screeched down Verneva and – yes he did – added a few mini-ice boulders to the end of my short driveway. My body hurts from shoveling yesterday, the first snow pain of this long, ugly season. Sun shines, and eggs boil on my stove. I need the protein, and a half-cooked meatball that landed on an order of spaghetti last Friday when I went to dinner with a friend turned me away from any kind of meat again.

No, no, this is not how I want to play today’s game, writing about meatballs and snow plows. But listen, the eggs roiling in the pot sound like the mini-ice boulders at the end of my tiny driveway when I loosen them with my shovel and toss them into my beleaguered yard.

This is too fancy for me, using words like “beleaguered” and trying to compare boiling eggs to iced snow blobs. “Blobs” is a better word for me. I’m a blobby sort of person, especially lately, moody, still (as in sedentary), a bit shrill when I open my mouth to complain about things that don’t matter.

The boiling egg pot whistles almost as if I set the eggs in my whistling tea kettle, which I did use this morning to make coffee.

I’m not sorry my fancy, but old coffee maker died. It’s so much easier to clean my porcelain cone dripper, and I’m so lazy lately that the thought of washing even a spoon rest makes me need a nap.

I’m reading a Kathy Winograd essay ( that’s killing me because I suddenly feel like I didn’t learn anything during my MFA program. (She was one of my mentors, though only for a week, and she helped me think about shedding some bad habits born of being a journalist and an editor.)

This is nothing new, of course, this feeling of ignorance, this certainty that I am and always will be a fraud. I went into a program knowing nothing and came out knowing less because I realized how much I didn’t know about poetry, writing, process.

Is this why I feel the need for a nap when I contemplate washing even a spoon rest?

There was a point during the two years I was studying poetry for that MFA when I decided that I loved the process of making whatever it was I was making so much that I didn’t need to label it either prose or poetry; I just needed to write what needed writing. For a few weeks, I felt confident this was the way to go so I could get through the program with a book-length manuscript of something that didn’t reek.

I’m scrambling in my head to fight off this notion that because I love narrative I can’t also be a poet, worry that I don’t have enough lyric elements in my work.

If this were a real essay instead of a journal entry I’ve chosen to share semi-publicly, I’d do some research to help myself through this little glitch in my armor, but I’m too lazy (see spoon-rest-washing dilemma above) and have “real” work to do and no time or heart to read writing that will pound that nail in the coffin of my definition of Self as Poet.

(Despite time constraints and my nearly debilitating blues regarding my self-definition, I am reading a David Baker essay as I type and skip through this entry, and I just muttered, “Oh my God, this is awesome” (which means I have to plank for thirty seconds since I muttered the overused word “awesome”), which leads me to believe I’m not as inwardly depressed about this labeling dilemma as I might think.)

That’s it for now. No resolution. If this were a real blog, and this were meant to be a real blog post rather than a journal entry, I’d try harder for resolution or elucidation.

I will put on warmish clothes soon and go out to conquer the mini-ice boulders blocking the end of my driveway. Maybe sweating and pain will shake loose something lyric in my narrative soul.


  1. This non-blog, non-essay was awesome!

    1. I'm trying to decide whether to thank you (of course) or slap you because now, of course, I have to plank for 30 seconds, dear Cat.