Thursday, July 21, 2011

I woke up in the middle of the night and was seized by despair. My brain was announcing: Your Milton talk for the Frost Place seminar is entirely stupid. There's not one smart idea in it. The seminar will be filled with participants and teachers who know far more than you do about everything concerning poetry. Don't keep pretending you have anything interesting to say.

What I want to know is, Why do brains pull this shit? Why? Don't they have anything better to do?

Now that I'm awake, and my brain has shut up, I've returned to being nervous about the Milton talk in an entirely reasonable way, as in: Let the thing sit on the shelf for a week; then reread it and decide if it's clear, includes enough supporting detail, makes relevant assertions, allows enough time for the participants to discuss the poem, but doesn't permit distracted patter to kidnap the topic and carry it off onto a deserted island to be eaten by snakes.

I'm so irritated with that night brain of mine. You'd think it would have my best interests at heart. But no.


Ruth said...

After 40 years of teaching, my night brain still frequently decides that I don't know what I'm doing and will fail. I think it does that so my day brain, hopefully that is my rational brain, will carefully think things through and catch the "oops moments". Still, I'd like my wake-up calls to be during the day (!) so that I can actually do something about the potential problems. It does keep us alert and human, if a bit tired and anxious.

charlotte gordon said...

THe strange thing is I wrote about my brain today, too. I love "eaten by snakes" --

Julia Munroe Martin said...

I hate the middle of the night despairing! Sounds like you turned it around to work to your advantage, still, as you say.... why do brains have to do this?

Carol Willette Bachofner said...

despair is a tricky little bastard that must be vanquished.