15 August 2011

Ready for Fall.

This evening is the first in weeks that it's been cool enough to put a window up. I had to bang on and force the window in my bedroom to get it to budge. I hate old windows- and yet I am attracted to every ancient house I see, irrationally so. I have none of the skills or the gumption needed to keep one going, but still I dream. Ezra and I peeped through the windows of a vacant mansion yesterday. We were killing time waiting for Maddie to do a senior portrait shoot. It was 4000 odd square feet and it's features even included a widow's walk.

The breeze reminds me that fall is once again around the corner. Ezra donned his cleats and headed to the ball field to resume a new season today. Tomorrow the kids register for school. I only have to tackle 2 schools this year and not 3, which makes me glad, but I will miss RS Payne Elementary school which was a special place for Nora to be for the past three years.

Ordinarily I am a huge fan of summer. This year, it's been too hot to camp, to hot to fire up the grill, and usually too hot to even sit outside for any length of time. I think I might be ready for Fall.

13 August 2011

Keeping the Day Job, or: Why I Write

Journal entry, 6-29-11

I am at the beach. It is my twentieth anniversary and I am watching my husband try to boogie board in the Atlantic with a board almost as old as our union. I am recovering from a year of working seven days a week. Feeling slightly shameful- know there are people everywhere who work harder than I have. But people offer me sympathy, and I take it. The waves are big today, but there is little breeze.It's been years since I've been to the ocean.The tides and waves are a mystery to me. I know I could study them and gain scientific understanding but I enjoy the mesmerizing mystery of them. Sand like brown sugar spills over and between my toes, making them look brown and healthy. Freer than they have been in a long time.

A cat came onto the beach last night. Black, with white beard and paws. He was chasing crabs in the dusk. I'd never seen a beach cat. Joe, letting his diamond-shaped kite up and up, grinning like a young boy. Other people on the beach had fancier kites, but his simple one seemed to soar the highest. It's windy and cool- how the temperature can change here in just a few hours' time.

I sat in my beach chair and read some issues of Poets and Writers magazine. Most of what I saw was disappointing. At least half the issue is ads for MFA programs or other training courses. Or, Get your book published today!!! One column caught my eye: Why We Write. A woman was telling a story about her grandmother dying. It was a good story, though I did not feel it addressed the topic very clearly. Why does she write? Why do I write?

I wouldn't mind becoming known as a writer, but I have not the resources- mental, physical, or any other- to put myself out there they way you have to these days. We are all drowning in sheer volume of people who want to be writers or who have written books. Even going to Barnes and Noble is almost more than I can handle anymore. I did enter a chapbook contest this past year. It was one chosen carefully based on what I thought might be a good fit with my work. They haven't announced the winners yet, but hundreds have entered it. I'm not lying awake at night wondering if I will get chosen. If I do, that's great. But if I don't, it doesn't mean I'm a bad writer. It just means that hundreds of people were competing. Its crazy to think of the time and money some people must put into systematically entering every contest that comes by, lured into visions of Stephen King-esque fame by said writers magazines.

Why do I write? Because I always have, as far back as my memory goes. It's how I process my world and the outer world around me. If it turns out that I am just mediocre at it- not trained enough in the craft- that's okay. I know I will still keep doing it because it is a part of me. The older I get, the more fatalistic I become. The world teeming with MFA-waving graduates shoving to get discovered. What are my chances, really? I'm a mom, I'm a nurse. I have laundry to do. Sure, I got a poem published on Anderbo. On Connotation Press. 15 seconds of fame, just long enough to repost the link on my Facebook wall and watch it dribble down my newsfeed and into oblivion.

No- this isn't why I write. My ego does hope that what I write will have meaning for someone out there. Otherwise, why publish any of this stuff? Could I actually touch someone the way Jane Smiley and Sharon Olds have touched me? I write to process the things in my life- family, love, death, old age, work. I never want to be "just" a writer. I want to be a woman who works with the public and who has children and who writes about these things. I am not capable of ordering the poems in my manuscript in some mythical, symbolic order as the magazine advised me to do to increase my chances of getting it published. I know which one I want to be first, and I know which one I want to be last. The rest is fate.

Which makes me some sort of literary hippie-rebel-castout. I have no degrees. I have a nursing diploma and a tickle in my heart and hand to put words to paper. I don't condemn those who are doing it another way. I just can't navigate it all. There's always someone with more time to write, money for a week-long writers' retreat, or better performance skills to steal the show at the local open mike.

I am not a writer. I am a woman who writes. The distinction feels important to me, somehow.

12 August 2011

Clearing Out

Joe and I are finally getting serious about putting our house up on the market. We've been looking at a few old homes around the area, and realizing ours isn't so bad. I mean yeah, that sink is sinking into the floor, but that's just details.

You do not realize how dirty and how cluttered your house is until you start seeing it with the eyes of trying to get it ready to sell. At least if you're someone like me who cleans as little as necessary on a day-to-day basis. I was working on the kitchen last night and found in a drawer a pile of those little packages of McDonalds sauce and duck sauce and soy sauce. Which will probably never get pulled out and used. I pitched them. And there's more, much more. I found Betta food and supplies from when we (once upon a time) had a Betta fish. Amazing the way it accumulates.

Recently Joe and I helped a friend move, and I was reminded of the enormity of packing your life into labeled boxes. It reminded me to start as soon as possible getting things organized and weeded out. We don't know when we'll move, but I want to be ready. And as a bonus, imagining that I'm moving makes the tasks funner than usual. Last night when I was cleaning the kitchen, I was imagining that I was getting it ready to take pictures of it.

Also at this time of year is the usual decluttering of the kids' clothes, all the stuff that no longer fits or is worn out. The kids are now old enough to do that themselves and it's great, but sometimes leaving me unsure as to what they now need. It's now up to them to let me know.

So that's my agenda for the weekend. Cleaning, decluttering, and being thankful I don't have to work the weekends anymore.

11 August 2011

Fits and Starts

Sometimes writing is just too hard. I log onto Blogger most mornings to see if anything new has been posted. I follow very few blogs, and so many days there is nothing new. I'll stare at my blog feed for a minute, try to think about what I want to write about, and then exit out. There just never seems to be a long enough piece of time to really dig into anything.

Or else someone's breathing down my neck to use the computer. Or else I'm distracted by Facebook or some other asinine time-waster.

Driving to New London in the mornings, I sometimes think of things I want to write about. I used to be better about jotting them down, but not so much these days.

I've been switching out the CDs in my car. A week or so ago, I put both of my Dido discs in. I hadn't heard them in quite a while, and hearing them caused me to remember that they were in heavy rotation about the time that Joe's brother went missing. Isn't it always amazing the way music brings back emotions? All her lines about love took on layers of meaning during that time.

I can't breathe, until you're resting here with me. 
His boots no longer by my door.
I promise you, you'll see the sun again.

Some days most things seem too hard. I go to work and I work and then I drive back home. The package that needs mailing waits several days in the floorboard before I muster the energy to drop by the post office. Why? I don't know. I get in bed most nights by nine with a bag of popcorn and a book and I read. Sometimes I don't understand what I read but it's the ritual of it. And I'm noticing that waking up in the morning seems to be getting easier for me. Finally, at almost 40. Maybe I will become a morning person yet.

Everything, fits and starts.

04 August 2011

New Job

Funny how you can try and try to make something happen, but often when the time comes it slips through the back door and surprises you. I interviewed for a job on Wednesday of last week, which was nothing unusual. I've been to plenty of interviews; sometimes I go back for a second interview. Once I even went to four, but that's another story. I never seem to land the job.

So I went on Wednesday and was told I'd hear back in a week for a possible second run, and then on Friday my phone rang and it was them. Making me an offer.

Finally, I have landed the illustrious Full-Time Job with Benefits. And I am glad. It's what I've been wanting and needing. The catch is this: I am moving into a new specialty. Rheumatology.

My new title is Rheumatology Coordinator, and yes, that involves paperwork. More than I was doing before. But it also involves delving into a whole new field. In family practice, I dabbled in everything. Sure, I know a little about gout, about labs for arthritis patients. This will be a new level and I do think it will be interesting.

Just wondering if this will bump me out of women's health forever.

But don't let me take you down any dark hols- I am very happy and thankful for my new job. Getting online now to look for some rheumatology books...