Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I thought this looked fun

Trifecta challenge: Week Sixteen

Wretched pigeon : half
a beak gone, dead wing trailing
in oilslick puddle --
I gape, hasten past you. I
have my own bad luck to tame.

Wretched, not a word I would normally use. But there you go.

PT, yoga, and overcoming body-hate

So I found out today that I'll probably be wrapping up PT right before we go to Vegas in March. I had mixed feelings about this. Part of me was like, "Are you kidding, two weeks more of this crap? I have better stuff to do, etc." The other part wants it to continue indefinitely, and here's why.

Of all the times I have been to PT, this is the place I've liked the best. I think because their focus is more on brain injury than sports medicine. Every other place I've gone, it's like they SAY "oh we're not just for athletes," but there's almost a tough love vibe like, "20 more reps, you pantywaist; go team!" It reminds me of this one therp, at a facility that shall remain nameless, who, as I lay on my back, pinned my shoulders flat on the mattress, held them there, and then let go. They sprung back up and rounded in. My muscles along my collarbones and in my chest were so tight. He pinned them back down again and said, "You know, if we could just put you in a brace to hold them like that for six months..." I must have muttered something like "yeah..." but what I was really thinking was, "oh yes, a brace will fix EVERYTHING, jackass. Stop touching me."

This place is not like that. I would describe the atmosphere as one of pleasant determination, rather than tough "love" or false cheerleading. I feel comfortable with my body there. If I am struggling with something that seems basic, there is someone else struggling with something that seems basic. If I am moving in a non-standard way, someone else is as well.

Now, I have the feeling this is how I'm supposed to feel at yoga, which I told my therp that I am going back to on Friday. In yoga you are supposed to "meet yourself where you are." But I have a very difficult time doing that. I'm always comparing myself to others, and I usually come out wanting. Or I am focusing on what I think the teacher wants, and I hurt myself. I am told time and again, that the teacher doesn't want anything, that no one is looking at me and judging, but I just don't believe it. It's not like I go to a yoga studio that's packed wall to wall with gym princesses or anything. It's just that I'm surrounded by lithe, supple, balanced bodies. There are some asanas I will never be able to do, because of the as-yet-undiagnosed brain damage I just call "my balance thing." I came out that way, just like with the blindness. I don't know how much it can ever improve. I do know that I was subject to humiliating pull-out sessions in my mainstreamed school, which took place in public spaces, like school halls, to work on my balance.

I know I still walk funny and I know I still hold my head funny and I am always, in public, excruciatingly self-conscious about it. A friend brought it up the other day as a kind of joke and I was like {cricket cricket} not funny. I can use humor to diffuse a lot, but not this.

Will I ever be able to meet myself where I am? How can yoga teachers do more to facilitate this? How can I?

I don't know, but it has stopped storm storm storming outside and the sun is trying to come back. Trying but failing but trying. And it's time to rest my spine now. Ow.

jeff noon

So I was gazing idly at my bookshelf the other day, wondering what happened to this amazing magic-realist-scifi(?) author, from whom I've read Vurt and Pollen. But then he fell off my radar. So I looked him up and found his website: Metamorphiction. There are boundless goodies within, but my favorite was  this article "The Ghost on the B-Side: Remixing Narrative," in which he claims to take techniques used when mixing dub-step and apply them to the craft of fiction. Now, his fiction is quite lyrical, so this technique works for poets too. If you like creating odd juxtapositions of language (and I do) and you have some drafts hanging out that are behaving more like day-old coffee cake than the sweet tartlets you know they could be, perhaps his technique can kick start a revision. I've tried it with only one poem of mine so far, "Full-Blown Sugar," as yet unpublished... it's in the mail!

Have to sign off now because the cats are wreaking havoc on this warm rainy day. It's like they know it's almost spring or something. They are positively deviling my morning. Slam-crash-thumpythumpythumpy. I thought perhaps a generous infusion of catnip and "new" (marinated and then re-introduced) toys would let them let me write. I thought they might go crash around upstairs, but instead they're crashing around near the irreplaceables.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

note to self

  • try not to panic when bureaucracy seems to trump your efforts
  • for god sakes take a shower; that eye gunk is so unsexy

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rose / Rot

ravi thinks he is a book

this morning

Still in my pajamas. Researched several journals for submission; haven't come to any conclusions. Wrote a long-lined long-narrative poem about candied chickpeas. Drafty draft. Messed about with art. It's sunny out but I haven't looked out the window much. The wind, which I hear constantly doing its inhaling/exhaling/whining thing, makes it sound gray, cold.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

oh damn

I was just writing the submission tracking details on my new hard copy of revised MS when I discovered revisions that had fallen through the cracks —meaning they were made after 12/22 and before the old laptop was stolen… and I thought I’d caught all of those! Mostly because I’ve been revising poems from The Sheaf (all the crap I’ve been writing since January) and not the MS. 
You know, the MS I just sent to Ahsahta. 
I mean, those revisions weren’t… I guess they weren’t crucial to one’s appreciation of the poem. Well they sort of were. It was more than tweaking of verbs or line breaks. But it was only two poems in a whole MS. 
Every time this happens I have a moment (more than a moment) where I am back standing in front of my desk and it’s like ghosts have miraculously whipped my laptop into another dimension. I’d actually thought I was hallucinating. Like: psychotic break time. Nope, it was really gone. I feel that disorienting, spinning… every time I find something I’ve lost. 
I can’t believe I didn’t check the electronic copy against the hard copy. Ugh. There are just so many pages. But poems, unlike prose, are modular. They go out in small batches to journals. They go out in a huge chunk as the MS. They squirm and worm around and their state is changeable. I thought I had everything up-to-date and good. 
This is going to obsess me now. 
Perhaps there needs to be cake.

exhale and pull the trigger

So I just submitted to Ahsahta. This was the first time I’ve used an electronic submissions manager for a full-length MS. They want you to remove all personal info, acknowledgments, bio, everything from the MS so it remains anonymous. It’s kind of nice, really. I feel less pressure like: omg, what if my pubs are LESS AWESOME than someone else’s. It makes the work stand alone. 
That said, it’s hard to have anything but idealistic hope about MS contests. But the poetry market has nooooo money, so how else do you get published? They need the money from reading fees. It’s hard to feel like you are anything but a drop in the sea though. Like the research job I applied for, after which I got an email saying they’d gotten a “groundswell of applicants.” I’m sure for every contest, there is a groundswell. Also, when I first picked this press, I thought it was an intro (first book) prize, but it’s not. That would have narrowed the pool somewhat. At least, to carry on the analogy, I get to show my work. 

can't sleep; do work

So this morning I got up at 5:55 and starting working because my brain turned on even though my body was still tired. It was bothering me that I hadn’t placed the poems from the chapbook into the new manuscript yet. It had been on my list from yesterday. Instead I did a whole mess of house chores to avoid it. I say “new” manuscript but it feels like this thing is so old, like it’s dogging me, it’s that houseguest who happily occupies the couch for a year. 
Somehow when I replaced less strong poems with some from the chapbook, the MS got longer by a page. I double and triple checked. Ugh. And adjusted the spacing between the title and start of the poems so they were absolutely all the same. Now it’s ready to go for the next round of submissions. Deadlines: March 1, March 15, March 15, and March 31.
Since we’ll be in Vegas for a chunk of March I’d like to get this all out of the way ASAP.
The good thing about reformatting, rearranging and tweaking was that it made me fall in love with my houseguest all over again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's journal submission

… is to Prime Number. This is a nifty online mag wherein they feature several linked poems by 5-ish poets, followed by a Q&A —a brief interview with the poet. It would SO rock to get my work in here.
Amidst this, they are finally installing the home security system. There is a lot of beeping and banging. The kitten is far too interested. The gentleman doing the installation is personable though. It’s cold and blowy out; thus cold in here. I wish I could go to bed now. Just for a little while. I squoze a submission out. Yay me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Today's journal submission

… was to 32 Poems. “we publish shorter lyric poems that fit on a single page (under 32 lines)…” Good stuff. Fingers crossed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Well, I lied.

Early last week I was all like, “Whee, I’m so under control even though someone just robbed our house! I’m back onto my project after eight days as if nothing happened…” Yeah… no. I was back on it for one day and then the rest of the week was spent wondering what the hell I was doing in this world. 
This is a typical response from me whenever anything bad happens. I allow myself [what I perceive that the outer world agrees is] the appropriate amount of feelings, and then I cram the rest back into my brain. 
Understand, I used to have a big problem with being self-destructive and letting my emotions rule me, often to harmful ends. This is the new (actually 13 years old) “recovery me” talking now.
I’m not fine and I’m not under control, and though I love my new, upgraded, expensive-and-paid-for-not-by-me laptop, it’s not the same as the old laptop. It’s faster, but the interface is ever so slightly different and it’s bugging the shit out of me. And I will never get back all my stuff.
So I haven’t been doing much submitting or art. Today I sent out to failbetter. Yay me. AND two people asked me to do readings. One is in April, the other in July. Rock on. Cos I can’t get my sorry ass together to ask someone else if I can read in their series. I write this because my husband told me I should try to enjoy my accomplishments more.
Annnnnd I might go after this one part-time research job even though I’m not supposed to even think about getting a job until the end of the semester. Maybe.
That is all.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    nobody needs to write anything else ever

    … I think this song says it all. About the human condition in the US. I think I can quit now.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    a wee summary of my life since the new year

    … that I like to call “Good Day, Bad Day, Worse Day.”
    GOOD DAY: [internal monologue] I am comfortable with myself. My writing is worthy. I understand the timeline for the project I have undertaken. I am content waiting for my efforts to pan out. I feel successful. My trajectory as a human being is on track. I have overcome a lot. I feel part of a community of people who I like/love and who like/love me back.
    BAD DAY: [internal monologue] I feel completely alone and adrift. My writing sucks and I’m delusional to think otherwise. I wish I had a mentor —someone who believes in my project and has the knowledge and time to help me out of This Brain Mess. The hours are crawling by. The years are flying. I’ll never get where I want to be. By my nature I am unable to enjoy my accomplishments. Being a poet is beyond quixotic. I’m so doomed. 
    WORSE DAY: [internal monologue] If I believed in a God who cared about individual humans and their destinies, I would be asking the question, “Why did God put me on this earth anyway?” But I don’t believe in that. So I can’t ask that question. Fuck. My dislike of strangers is fierce and overwhelming. I wear my headphones on the bus so I won’t slap you. 
    Every other day is a good day. The days that aren’t good are bad. Sometimes the bad day/worse day cycles back and forth in one 24-hour period. I do not seem to have neutral days. The End.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Oh, those pesky journal subs, mounting the gibbet, etc.

    Well, I’m back at it. New laptop, reconstructed most of Lost January. I know I will encounter unrecoverable losses and then I will have meltdowns and stay in bed. But my January work is 90-95% recovered and shit, I am dumb with gratitude.
    I forgot to mention a journal or two right around the time we were robbed. I submitted to Blood LotusAnd then decomP on the 31st. 
    I can’t believe I’m back on it in a week. I’m still massively dissociated though, or at least I lapse into it whenever I have to tell people what happened. Fucking fuck. I guess that coping mechanism has served me well in the past and my brain just does it, no choice. Still.
    Finally, today’s sub was Mid-American Review
    I have to say, I love this. I love getting to read as much poetry as I want, every day. I love reading all these journals, so that I feel like I’m right there at the edge of poetry, if that makes sense. I might not be making sense. I really want to go back to bed but I have to go to PT. Ugh, it’s snowing sideways. Maybe I can call off. That makes me feel guilty. But… /whine/ Snow. Bed. etc.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    One of my favorite fantasy authors...

    We’re all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on. Not forever, perhaps, but for a time. It’s a kind of immortality, I suppose, bounded by limits, it’s true, but then so’s everything.   -Charles de Lint

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    radio silence

    So last Tuesday our house got broken into. They rifled through our shit and took my laptop. 

    January has been the most productive (writing-wise) month for me since grad school (i.e. aWHILE ago). I’ve managed to reconstruct almost everything from printouts (I used to never print out my work; wastes trees etc) but still. It’s brought the whole 5-subs-a-week project to a halt. Sigh. I keep telling myself it’s just a setback.