Saturday, April 24, 2021

notes & things | pre-birthday edition

It being my birthday tomorrow and prime taurus indulgence season, I've determined to nothing much at all except maybe some bare necessity cleaning to keep the place from being a disaster, but that's about it.  J and I will have our usual stay-in date night tonight and maybe some tequila. I am making ribs tomorrow in the crockpot perhaps, and some cinnamon crumble cake. I got a giant canister of my favorite black currant tea as an early gift, which I was nearly out of, so I will drinking lots of that. Like last year, there won't be any outings, but this week, I get shot #2, so perhaps I'll feel a little safer (at least maybe with outside dining, which apparently will be more palatable since we're set to climb into the 70's, possibly 80's this week after a chilly mid-April.) 

As I've mentioned, it doesn't really feel like a real year, though outside of rising and falling infection worries, it still looks much like any other year--working, writing, introverting, The prime difference was that I didn't really go to restaurants or movies like I may in another year, and maybe I visited family a little less (though I still did when I thought it was safer last summer or after quarantining at Christmas.)It's 's difficult to get me out socially and work usually interferes with much of a social calendar, but I do miss occasional bbq's or beach outings, which will hopefully feel more comfortable this summer than last. I do miss reading books, which is something it's not been easy to do during the pandemic--hard to focus or immerse myself--esp. during my commute which is when I usually got most of my novel-reading done. For awhile all I'd been reading were poetry submissions and things online.  I have returned to reading some poems in actual books while eating breakfast before I start writing for the day, so baby steps.  And I do read bits & chapters of non-fiction now for research purposes here and there.  It's mostly a concentration thing.

So I'm not sure why it feels like a non-year when it hasn't been drastically different since going back to work last July, but maybe it's just more the tenor of a year that was so much encased in fear and anxiety, and then crazy things like social unrest and political turmoil--a completely insane administration, a contentious election, the Capitol attack. Constant police violence. I've never watched the news as much as I have the past year and now I know why. Also the way I have become more conscious of the distances between people, the dangers in any given space. Danger in all spaces.  It may look like a typical year on the surface, but it's really not.  Last week, I taught a zine workshop in person in a giant room of about 20 students spaced in a felt like teaching in an airport hanger.  Weird in that it's pretty much the same workshop I'd taught the week before lockdown for another faculty member in a regular classroom when it was already dangerous but we didn't know how much.  Everyone seemed kind of bored and really far away. I think when it comes to programming and really anything of my own going on--publishing, readings, lectures,--it feels hard to get anyone's focus for long..or maybe I'm just projecting my feelings onto others. But the year of 46 also bought some really good things.  I wrote many poems and finished two new manuscripts.  Made zines and many poetry videos if not a lot of visual art. I released two books of poems. Did a couple of fun readings (and even got paid for one.) 

So another year.  I found myself thinking about the spring I turned 17.  Around the beginning of May, I won $300 for an essay from the local bar association on the 1st Amendment. I'd spent the day of the luncheon at the courthouse for some sort of program I'd been chosen by my Government teacher to participate (I charmed him by writing a stellar paper on government response to UFO's I still have somewhere.) I spent the prize money on clothes and cassette tapes and whatever, but also to redecorate my bedroom with a quilt covered in thick, large, roses and framed artwork of a pastel girl in a field from K-Mart (or maybe it was a girl in a boat. Or a boat it a field?).  In a year, I'd switch it out to black an teal and an ocean theme, but in that moment, it was everything I wanted.  This was the spring I first read The Bell Jar lying on that quilt after school (actually I wasn't all that impressed.  My Plath fascination was a couple years off).  I was writing poems I kept entirely  to myself (some of which I also still have--I'm pretty sure it was then I wrote the seagull one in my earlier post.) I spent a lot of time listening to The Bangles Everything and Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting, both of which I was obsessed with. 

Time is stretchy like a rubber band, and of course this feels like it was another lifetime, but then sometimes not.  Today I woke up, not under roses, but my cozy gray comforter,  I didn't write something, new, but I did look through the week's progress on the bird artist daily poems. I put the Bangles on while I swept the flours and cleaned the bathroom. I read a review of the newish Plath bio, Red Comet, I saw mentioned not once, but twice in my social media this morning and added to my reading list for when I'm more able to read again. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

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