I’ve known little of science
but understood the heart beats
like a caged god. I’ve been too something
my whole damn life. I’ve buried chandeliers,
turned domestic work
into love. I’ve traced an elegy
to its teeth.
It looked like pushing
I’ve been having a hard time
At this point, it’s clear that I let myself get bogged down by teaching. My goal with this blog was to talk about books, music, and movies (and sometimes other things), but I can’t remember the last time I blogged about something I read, and that’s sad because I’ve read some fantastic literature lately.
Teaching hasn’t just affected my blogging; it’s really had an impact on my writing. I have realized that I have to find a balance where I make time for what I need to do, and writing is something I need to do. I have a manuscript that I’ve been trying to edit and revise for months now, but usually I just sit down when I have a few spare moments and try to pour over a poem or two. This is not working because I’m not making any progress. So for the last few weeks, I’ve been trying something new.
Let go: The very first thing I’ve had to do is let the manuscript go. It’s the end of the semester and I clearly don’t have time to focus on it right now, so I’ve sent it to a couple of readers. Even though I do keep thinking about how particular poems need a lot of work, I have to let them go for now. They’re in the readers’ hands and I can worry about them once I get the feedback.
Study: Even if finding time to write is hard to do at the current moment, I can find time to read. Teaching and grading essays uses a lot of mental energy and reading is a process of renewal. For a while now, I’ve made it a point to read at least a little bit of a novel each day, but I’ve begun to realize the importance of also reading poetry, and not just any poetry: I need to reading the poems and poets that are going to help me improve as a writer. I’m writing a very specific type of book, and I need to surround myself with poets who write about similar topics and with poets who are working with language the way I am and aspire to. Writing is a process, and we’re continually growing and maturing, even as we work through the same piece we’ve been working on for months or even years. Part of what will make me a better writer is dedicating myself to studying poetry as I write. I lost sight of that somewhere between my classes, committees, and task teams.
This doesn’t mean that my work as an instructor isn’t important or that I’m not going to continue to strive to be the best instructor and faculty member that I can be. But it does mean that I am going to carve out some more time for writing because if I’m not writing and working to grow as a writer, I find myself unhappy and frustrated, and that has a profound affect on everything else in my life.
I spent part of my day talking to an Appalachian Literature class about poetry—my poetry. It was an awesome experience, for so many different reasons.
Oh, Boston, I am sending love and light to you on this sad, dark day.