22 March 2013

A Touch of Word Vomit

Apparently it was World Poetry Day yesterday. I was so busy living life that I missed it. It was a busy day in my clinic and I worked hard. I met a few new faces and enjoyed a few that are becoming familiar. We like to  say that there's never a dull moment in the work that we do. And it's true. There is heartbreak, and poverty, and laughter, and hope. It is worth it.

But I would like to have time to read some new poets, or do a bit more writing of my own. I keep saying someday. When does someday become just another regret?

I was thinking about sweeping today. I like to sweep. It's physical, the swiping and bending and scraping the broomstraws across sun-dappled wood. And the pile of dust and dirt I create confirms the utility of my motions. A visual accomplishment. My mother-in-law likes to vacuum her floors, and I can see why. I'm sure it works better than my old broom, which is probably stirring up as much dust as it's gathering. But I just enjoy it. My grandmother used to sweep her carpet sometimes. It was a thin sort of carpet, and I don't know exactly why she would sweep it, but perhaps it was easier to spot clean than to drag out the old Hoover.

I've got hundred-year-old pine planks, the kind with wide cracks between them and wood patches that are crumbling out. Good thing I like to sweep. But don't imagine that I do so nearly as often as I should around here. I got off work early and chose to fool around in my studio for a little while rather than attack this old castle with the broom. My own vacuum is actually broken, and so some carpet sweeping might just be on the docket.

And then on the radio, I heard a piece about a woman in Waynesboro writing something called cozy mysteries. The plots revolve around some ladies who like to get together and scrapbook, and while doing so they somehow become amateur sleuths. She's got a 7 book contract with a publisher and is on the fourth book now, I believe. I don't know how people think all those plots up. But anyway, cozy mysteries are supposed to have less sex and violence in them than traditional mysteries. And no, I haven't Googled any of that, I am just writing from my memory of the NPR report.

When I get tired of the same CDs I have in the car, I flip back to the radio for a bit. This week it's been NPR. They had a week-long series about sexual assault against women in the military. Thankfully, I'm not in the car for very long at a time, so I didn't hear it all. I am not here to argue about the military, only here to say that it hurts my heart to hear of young men with 3 limbs blown off, or women who were raped by their superiors with no recourse, or that the suicide rate for soldiers now exceeds the combat death rate.

I tend to stay in my bubble of work and family but I am trying to peek out more.

12 March 2013


I turned forty last week. I had a little post brewing in my head with some observations and thoughts that seem petty now. I turned forty; people do it every day. There was snow on the ground, but the laundry room was filled with trays full of bright green seedlings for our garden. Spring is in the air.

As usual, I'm having the usual thoughts about where I'm going and where I've been, but I feel positive about my forties. My children are growing up and I am enjoying a good relationship with them. They are pretty rad people to be around. My grandson is getting old enough to take outside in the yard and kick a ball around with, even if he still falls every few minutes.

My chapbook has been nominated for a Library of Virginia book award, which is pretty amazing. I am celebrating its publication by doing a little public reading at Riverviews later this month. The house band there is working with me to do some musical accompaniment for a few of the poems. It's something I have never done before, and I had such an amazing time rehearsing with them. Their jazz-style riffs brought a completely new life to my words.

Words. I want so badly to get back to some regular writing. Life is so full. The other night I pulled my tattered old copy of Ariel Gore's wonderful writing book out to glean a little inspiration. Her "write when you can" chapter always hits home for me. I must write even a sentence every day, even if just little observations and phrases. I must not lose this. And there is so much I want to say.

I think I am finally making peace with work and the loss of my years of birth work. The birth work continues without me. And it's okay. I love what I'm doing. It can keep me challenged for a long time. I am good at my job and valued by those in my clinic and have been asked for by two other medical offices. I may eventually go back and get my RN. Maybe. I'm pretty content right now.

I have quit the Facebook scene for now, and all of the drama and banality that goes with it. I know I am missing things- I miss being able to share a great article or use my Misplaced Talents page- but the tradeoff is worth it for now. I am exchanging real letters with a couple of friends and working on quality over quantity. I have too much quanitity in most things. Life becomes messy piles of excessive shit and I find myself just wanting the simplicity of a clean floor.

Winter tends to turn me into a gloomy hermit. But now, the sun is emerging and I feel it thawing me out and bringing me back to life. And I am thankful.

02 March 2013

A Golden Moment

It's finally quiet here at my desk. It's the moment I've been waiting for. Everyone in the house is asleep or gone. I can write! My head is swarming and spinning with images and snippets and phrases. But I am so rusty. So easily the ability to pull a golden thread from the tornado stalls out. I want to write a nursing collection! A group of dog stories! So many ideas. I get as far as some notes about clinic in my speckled composition book that I still use. I actually get a page or two down on the first dog story, the inspiration for the collection. But I need to be alone- alone for longer than this. Alone, and away from the filthy kitchen I can see from where I'm sitting and the 3 piles of clean laundry waiting to be folded. I am afraid of losing what ability I have to do this.

In the midst of this, I have agreed to a poetry reading this month. This is to commemorate the publication of my little chapbook and the fact that I'm turning forty. This is something I am forcing myself to do. If they hadn't already put my picture up on the website, I might have already found a way to weasel out of it. I feel uncomfortable and inadequate. But I am going to do it anyway.

I am realizing that I cannot do everything in life that I want to do. There simply isn't enough time. To raise a family and hold a full time job, to keep a busy household, takes most of my time. I can be jealous of a childless writer who read 13 books last month and travels the country writing about it all, but she has made her choices and I have made mine. I am choosing to do what I can in the time that I have, knowing that a few years from now, I will long for the sound of rowdy laughter around the dining room table in the evenings. I will also (hopefully) have more time to write.

I'll work on that dog story right after I clean off my desk...