Self-Help

From the onset, I promised I would never turn this blog into a journal in which I whine about why I'm too busy to write or provide a general overview of my day.  Who cares why I'm not writing?  I've always wanted this to be the space where all of the me's come together and talk about things that are important to the whole me.  Essays on raising a teenager butting up against pictures of and links to nice things you can make at home, or thoughts on writing and poetry.  But man!  I have been so busy that I can't even think, let alone hate myself for being a whiner!

Here is a funny thing that never shows up on my blog: my full-time job.  Perhaps it's because my job isn't a part of who I am, but just what I do?  In any case, it seems almost dishonest to pretend it doesn't consume gigantic proportions of my days.  By never mentioning it, I'm sending a message like, "Hey, MFA kids, you can get your degree then hang out and blog about things you're doing and things that matter to you, and that totally pays the bills!"  (Maybe that's true, actually... but not in my case.)  

Let me tell you a secret: working full-time takes up 40 hours of my waking week (45 if you count travel time).  It's a lot of time.  In the summer, this isn't too terrible.  And when the workday is not insane, it also isn't too terrible. But, when it's a crazy day at work, then you leave and it's dark outside, it's hard not to come home, curl into a small ball in the corner of a dark room, and pretend you are a hedgehog.  So sleepy! 

In spite of all of this desire to sleep at 7pm, I've actually come home and gotten lots done after work this winter.  Sadly, writing poems is not one of those things, and writing on this blog is not one of them, either.  To feel better about this, I will now list my accomplishments here and give myself a gold star:

I put a chapbook together in December! 
I put a WHOLE BOOK together today!  That's right. Today. I finished it on my lunch break.
I proposed and will be teaching two workshops at UW Writers' Institute, and I'll be providing one-on-one consults.
I proposed and will be teaching two workshops at Rhinelander School of the Arts this summer.
I will be teaching "How to Write a Love Poem," with the amazing poet Rita Mae Reese in February.
I have been steadily submitting poems places. 
I bought tickets to AWP. 
I'm writing a poem based on the work of Ellsworth Kelly and reading it at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in March, the night before I leave for Boston.
I'm working on a collaborative art/poetry project for a Monsters of Poetry reading at the end of March.
I've also been working on this essay since the beginning of January about Carter un-vegetarianizing.  I really want to finish it!  But, alas. It is still a misshapen baby potato sleeping in the dirt.  
I made marmalade. Oh. And I handmade most of my Christmas gifts. Including the adorable puppies to the right. Ugh. Christmas.

I heard there is a kind of post-holiday depression that happens to some folks after Christmastime.  When the season ends, they look around wondering what they used to do:  Where did I start?  How did I finish anything?  I was feeling that way, I think.  Not that I miss Christmastime at all or that I'm sad or depressed or anything. I promise.  But it's just that I was so wrapped up in doing for two months, that I forgot to be a person.  

Now I remember writing and that starting with something terrible that you want nobody else to read (but will publish on your blog nonetheless, not that anyone really reads it anyway (wink, wink to you, secret reader-friends)) is fine.  I've read "Shitty First Drafts" enough times to know this by now, but sometimes, I get caught up in silly living, and I forget.  Starting can be small and ridiculous (and include pictures of stuffed dogs...).   It just needs to be honest and trying to find something. And I think found something, so I'm done here for now.  

The high temperature for today was 8 degrees, but he sun was still shining when I left work today and when I got home.  It was a good day.  




Comments

  1. I read!!!! :) And I am sooo familiar with that essay "Shitty First Drafts" -- I use it with my writing students.

    Keep on keepin' on -- you're DOING it! :)

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  2. Bravo, Angela! This is an impressive list. It is hard to work full time and be a full person with all the other demands on our time and interesting things in the world calling to different parts of our self. Good luck with the chapbook and book manuscript, and with AWP and with the misshaped potato essay. It all sounds very interesting!

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  3. Thanks! It's nice to hear from you! And Lindsay, it's nice to see someone else is awake as early as I am :)

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