(A self-referential post. Let's start with the fact that these photos have been waiting for almost a month to be blogged. )
I've begun to suspect that I don't live my life in the same briskly moving sequence other people do. Looking over my stint as an adult so far, I see one elongated time-frame that I have been drawing out, freakishly, miraculously, year after year.
I am twenty-three. My goals haven't changed much since I was seventeen and most of them are still unmet. I am working away at projects I initiated years ago. I am still trying to keep up with a person I no longer am, still trying to reconcile my idea of a good life with the memory of one particular summer. It's taken me ten years to learn to take my makeup off at night. I still consider myself a novice in the arenas of Exercise and Healthy Eating. And I've been trying to make the same pot of borscht for a week.
In the picture above, there's a pile of zines. It's four weeks ago, and I'm in the middle of stitching them up. They're a reprint of a zine I published three winters ago. They're what I consider almost-current work.
I published my first zine at age 14, so I've been doing this almost as long as I've been a poet. Along with everyone else, I expected to grow out of the practice. When I briefly opened a zine-selling Etsy shop in the summer of 2010, I felt childish--and yet, I've spent the past several weeks making the same zines I sold in that shop into a digital archive which I proudly display on my brand-new, very-official, I-bought-a-url website. I'm writing poems to print in a new zine in September.
In the image below, tails and tops from this year's first beets. I think I've taken this picture before. I've certainly turned it into a poem. It's in the zine shown above. Apparently my own poems are circling back to life.
These geraniums are the first I've ever had, but I've been wanting to grow them for oh, five years or so?
Here is another glimpse of my puffin sweater, emerging from its blocking bath in the kitchen sink. No, I have not yet taken modeled photographs. So far, this sweater has been almost two years in the making. I decided I wanted to knit it soon after the pattern came out in December 2012, which was also when Tim's mum bought me Colours of Shetland (Kate Davies's incredible first collection of patterns, including the puffin sweater) for Christmas. In December 2013, I got the yarn for the sweater, also from Tim's mum. In March of this year, while I was in Iceland, I finally cast on.
And this. This is a sock, or will be. The first of two for my friend Tara, who lives in Detroit, is a PhD student, and once sent me Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman--a perfect present. I promised Tara socks two years ago, right before I promised myself I'd knit a Puffin.
To round up a few more examples that I don't have photographic evidence of, I'll mention the loaf of Borodinsky Bread that I baked this week. It was the next recipe in Bread Matters, a book I've been working through, Julie-Powell style, since January 2013. The last time I progressed to a new recipe was in April 2013. Why has it taken me this long to get to Borodinsky? Well, there was the hellish autumn. (Note that the hellish autumn began at the end of last August. We're already edging into an autumn that I hope and expect will be much happier, but my instinctive use of language only proves my point: time is unbroken between this autumn and last and sometimes I have an odd foreboding sense of deja vu, as if I am appoaching hell all over again.) But I also had to obtain rye malt extract, which took me approximately 14 months to track down and order from a brewing supply company. This bread, though, at long last, is scrumptious. 100% sourdough rye with malt and . . . coriander seeds. Sweet Jesus, why haven't I had coriander in rye bread before?
There's also the book of poetry I'm reading, Jesse Patrick Ferguson's Harmonics. It was assigned in a prosody seminar I took in the Fall semester 2012. I presented papers on two or three poems from the collection and managed to essentially ignore the rest. Then, a few weeks ago, a friend picked the book off of my library cart bookshelf and asked me about it. I said something vague about poems by a young Canadian poet who didn't sound like Margaret Atwood but actually straddled the line between formal and free verse in much the same way I try to do . . . Hearing this description coming out of my own mouth, it suddenly occurred to me that I might want another look at this young Canadian poet. As it turns out, two years later, these poems are marvelous. Here's a short one (but if you want a long one, ask me to email you the text of "Work"--I'd be so happy to):
Greasy Spoon Triolet - Jesse Patrick Ferguson
This coffee's black as Satan's piss,
so pass the creamers my way.
When she comes back, tell her this--
the coffee's black as Satan's piss.
Something's amiss, my little Miss,
and I don't tip well, anyway,
when coffee's black as Satan's piss.
Now pass the creamers my way.
And Ron Sexsmith gives me a post title and signs me off.