Thursday, May 30, 2019


"Truth is, you'd be prettier if you were thinner.  Prettier if you smiled.  Each night, you cultivate pretty like a fountain you throw every coin into.   Put it in a nightgown and tuck it into bed.  Pretty sleeps like a cat, curled around you, kneading sweetly in your hair." 


As I was working through those hunger palace edits, I got more and more excited about the larger manuscript they are a part of, and excited to see if it fares well out in the submission wilds.  I feel like the work in the book is really strong individually and as a whole--and it feels a little sharper and real than some of my other projects.  You have the very autobiographical of hunger palace, the barbed poems of swallow, the fairytale world of plump, and the dreamy changelings of the summer house.  Also the imaginary daughter poems of the science of impossible objects.  It makes sense that I would write a book about mothers in the year or so after losing my own, and the hunger palace itself is very much about that.

Of course, it's not only about mothers, but also about daughters, and body image issues.  About the things we inherit from mothers as much as our eye color and genetic makeup. About the madnesses we inherit via nature or nurture, so in that way is also about grandmothers and female relatives. My sister, for example,  inherited a seizure disorder that afflicts both my father and other members of that family which seems much scarier.  I (luckily?) only inherited a tendency toward anxiety that plagued my mother, particularly in her latter years. While my grandmother died fairly young, there were alcohol issues, and, with my great grandmother on that side. hospitalizations for hallucinations and general mental breakdown  crazy.   (though after what happened with my mom, I wonder if infection wasn't the cause of all that and the doctors in the late 60's just weren't up to speed that that was a possibility.)  Therefore, I am extremely cautious of "the crazy" and ever vigilant.

As a teen, of course, the obsession with my weight becomes softer in focus as an adult, but when I was in Rockford over the past weekend, I re-found my old high school diary, which I mention specifically in the hunger palace a couple times.  And good god, it's all there, the ridiculousness of it, something I am still, in many ways unlearning. FEED is a processing of all that and more--the mother, the daughter, decisions on not having children, of creative work as child. In many ways, it feels like one of the most cohesive full-length projects I've written and I'm anxious (in the good way) to see what comes of it.

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