Delicious Work

It started with a new journal, and yesterday's mushroom post. In the front of the journal (which is covered in brown paper) I made six lists. One of them was called

Some First-Semester Goals:

- to journal every day
- to run every day
- to keep the apartment clean
- to stay on top of my homework
- to publish another poem
- to put out Tom-Tom #8
- to reach 35 sales on Etsy
- to do 10 push-ups in a row
- to brush my teeth 2x every day
- to finish the first draft of the sea-monkeys story
- to stay out of debt
- to get straight A's
- to keep my journals neat

And then I wrote, not trying to force out a poem, or anything else. I just wrote. About my day. About my knotty emotions. Only afterwards, at two in the morning, did I pull out a stack of notes that was stubbornly refusing to come together, and I finished a first stanza I began this spring.

Much later on Monday, while I was posting the fungus photograph, I decided it needed a description. I wrote one, something like this: "They popped out like a cancer, showing their fists and their organs. Frightening how they suddenly appear fully formed, deeply rooted, and with shockingly extensive networks." An hour later, I divided the description into some lines, hardly thinking about these facts:

1) I have not spontaneously written a poem in over ten months.

2) I have not published anything in over a year.

I edited the lines seven (edit: eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, FIFTEEN, SIXTEEN) times more, one or two words at once. I added a title. This morning I have this:


The fungus

pops out like a cancer
showing its fists
and its organs

appears in a fine form
spreading its legs
its lurid networks



which is not my best work, but is a fleshed-out poem, with its own form and metaphors. Lately I keep saying "I'm back" -- but it's true every time. I'm back again. I feel wonderful.

excerpt

"Of her tricks for enduring a job, the most successful was to narrate herself into a tragic novel along the lines of The Tin Flute, by applying lipstick before she left the house, nursing wry despair at work, and moving smoothly and self-consciously while she wrapped the customers' bratwurst."

Darling face and hands -

I am sorry to have
made such fools of you
in public.
Forgive me, mouth, Pie-Hole,
for the simpering agreements,
the affected giggles,
the gummy silences.
Eyes, accept my apologies, both of you.
From now on,
do not pretend
you don't see almost everything.
I am sorry to you too,
fingers,
for the helpless way
you had to flap and twist,
and for keeping you
from dirt
and interesting gymnastics.





I found this poem whilst reprinting #2 (see, I'm actually working on my list). It's old, but just as important to me as ever. I thought I'd show you all.

Tegan and Sara. Seriously.

a much-needed list

After reading this post, I suddenly noticed that my life has become something of an organizational scandal, and that I had better start developing better habits before school starts again. Since getting married in May, I've been astounded by how difficult it is for me to write, draw, read, print magazines, or do Etsy work when Tim is around to talk to. Sometimes by the time we're both out of bed, showered and dressed and chatted and cuddled (and made-up, for me), the day is half-gone. Sometimes I need to throw on old clothes, ignore my hair, lock the door on our bedroom and work, even when it doesn't feel like enough, even when I'd like to be sitting at my desk at eight in the morning, calm and scholarly and collected. But I'm also in sore need of a list of things to attend to while I am locked away. Things that have been left unfinished, that chafe at my conscience because they are important, but not done. This week I am going to chip away at this list, just chip steadily away.

THE LIST:

- reprint and stitch Tom-Tom #s 1, 2, and 3
- post off Etsy orders, the postcard to Glynis, and the letter to Crownology
- make a few necessary edits in the magazine listings on Etsy
- renew, and then finish reading, all my library books
- finish reading The Stuff of Thought
- scrub my filthy cupboard fronts
- cut out and iron the shirt pattern drafted last week
- go the deli, and earn some cash
- transplant the spider plant
- clean out the fridge

Also. Have I mentioned how sexy Tegan and Sara are?

Thursday

The plan for today involves blankets, the flannel pajama pants I stole from Tim, a pile of books, a pen, a postcard, and OpenOffice. It does not seem to involve a shower, or a bra, or proper meals. Among other things, I have a postcard from Glynis to respond to. It is hard for me to admit, but as often as not, this outward laziness is my best creative catalyst, and sometimes staying in bed all day is the hardest thing (but the most productive thing) for me to do. What can I say? I come by it honestly. You all know that writers look dingy and haggard when surprised by the media while at work, or else are in the bathtub smoking cigars.

If you are worried, this won't last long. Tim's parents are due for supper here at six, and tomorrow I'm at the deli all day before I fly off to a Metric concert.

Happy Thursday, you all!

July 23

On Wednesday, after a bit of a lapse, I started riding my bike again. I feel more and more that I need (very) regular exercise and good food to stay sane and healthy. Summer does not last forever, however, and I am not going to fool myself into thinking I'll ride my bike when it's icy outside, and minus 30 C. So today I need to say hello to running, my old nemesis. I also have to go to work for the first time since I cut myself. Wish me luck.