Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Yesterday turned out to be great. That poem draft I was wrestling with suddenly caught fire and I spent most of the morning unexpectedly burning my way through a series of ever-more coherent versions. So that was extremely absorbing and exciting. Then I did a big chunk of work for my chapbook class, and then Teresa and I chattered about the Iliad, and then I caught up on dusting and sauce-making, and then Tom came home and we were really glad to see each other . . . Such a busy and entirely satisfying day, the sort I'm always hoping for but that rarely quite materialize.

Today I've got a bit of editing to do and more class stuff to work on, and I'll comb through the poem draft a few more times to see what needs to change. I want to clean floors, and hang out laundry, and then in the late afternoon my friend Angela is arriving from the northcountry to spend the night with us. All signs point to yet another busy, happy day.

I feel as if, finally, I'm starting to figure out (again) how to be alone in the house. The way that poem arrived was so surprising and cathartic. It began as a chore, a self-assignment to start writing, about anything, about nothing: just to start writing. The first words began crawling  down the page slowly and self-consciously; some of the images were interesting, and I began to enjoy making them. But then, three days later, when I went back to that first effort, I found myself suddenly dropping down into some other zone. Or maybe a better metaphor is flinging: flinging myself headfirst into fast-moving water instead of dabbling among the lily pads and leeches. As regards the end result, one approach doesn't make a better poem than the other. I've written many finished pieces in small steady increments. But my raison d'ĂȘtre for writing--and I mean the actual process of writing, not the product--are these drunken naked cannonballs into the deeps. Whenever that happens, I am in some version of paradise.

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