February 27th, 2009

We’re off for a week vacation in my favorite place in Switzerland. Don’t know if I’ll be posting or not (probaby not), but stories and pictures when we get back.

Luck, pure and simple

February 25th, 2009

I’m not worried. Let me start by saying: I am not worried.

I spent the day in the pediatric emergency room watching The Boychen get rehydrated; Boychen is staying overnight, on a glucose drip, and right now R is with him and I am getting some rest and I am not worried. I’m not worried because he’s in the hospital, because he is hooked up to an IV-drip, because he is being observed. Because we have health insurance and money in the bank if we didn’t. Because we live five minutes from one of the best hospitals in Switzerland. Because they have a bed for him. Because they have sterile equipment and glucose solution and clean water when he is ready to try to take tea. Because we live here, in this place, in this time.

My son is beautiful. I am biased, of course, because I am his mother, but truly the Boychen is beautiful. It’s a rare cashier who can resist flirting with him when we go shopping, a cold bus passenger indeed who can fail to respond to his smile. My son is beautiful, and happy, and because I am his mother I think he is special beyond all reckoning. And he is going to be fine, and I am not worried.

But there is a beautiful happy boy somewhere, a boy who is special beyond all reckoning, who is not going to be okay. There’s a boy somewhere who started throwing up about the same time Boychen did. Who this morning couldn’t even keep a single soup spoon of plain water down. Who sometime between yesterday and today stopped making tears. Who doesn’t have the strength to hold his torso up. And he’s not going to be okay. He doesn’t live five minutes from the hospital. And they don’t have glucose solution and even if they did they don’t have clean catheters to put in a peripheral IV line. And he’s not going to be okay.

Luck. The sheer stupid dumb luck of fate that falls in our favor. I’m not a better mother and my son isn’t a sweeter child. We’re just luckier. We live where we live; in a world where that sort of thing matters very much, we live down the street from one of the best hospitals in Switzerland. That is why Boychen is going to be okay. That is why I am not worried.

I can’t let go of that tonight. That had I been born in a different place, I would be holding my limp boy, special beyond all reckoning, trying to get him to keep some water down, and worrying. Worrying very, very much.

The sheer stupid dumb luck of it all.


February 22nd, 2009

Protected: In the Garden as Summer Draws to a Close (a poem)

February 18th, 2009

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February 11th, 2009

I’ve got two poems up at Asphalt Sky (in volume 1 issue 2).

I got a rejection letter on Monday.

There are three poems winging via Luftpost towards a little journal I’ve become too attached to. 

I’ve got two poems awaiting judgment.

This writing thing, it’s starting to feel real.


February 5th, 2009

I understand in short flashes that I am a beginner. Reading sample poems from a journal I might submit to, I see suddenly the depth my poems are missing. I almost see the way there but then it is gone. It is a glimpse. Like seeing a brook trout that is long gone by the time you start your back-cast.

* * *

If the poems come back with a form letter rejection slip I might understand the rejection but I do not know how to make the poems better.

* * *

It is like holding fog.

* * *

Is there a literary journal devoted to tasteful nostalgia? It seems out of fashion, nostalgia. It is one of the things I do well.

* * *

Now and then I am very good. I do not know why that happens. Is it my effort? Is it the topic? Is it luck? Is it a gift? Is it that sometimes I take a deep enough breath to go deep and other times I do not? Will it happen more often if I climb the mountain and train at high-altitude?

* * *

How do you know when a prose-poem is a prose-poem and not a paragraph?

* * *

My 2009 calendar features pictures of doors and windows. By the time I turn the page to December, will they be open?

* * *

Read, read, read. Lay speechless on the floor for a week, the open pages of books fluttering around me like pigeon wings. Let the words fall on me like feathers. Jump up, send the pigeons swirling, the sun glinting off their oil-slick grey wings. Watch, look, listen, read, write. This is learning.

* * *

I do not know when to stop revising. I could tinker with my poems forever like a teenaged boy with his car up on blocks in the garage who instinctively knows that it is safer to keep his head tucked under the hood than to cruise the strip and call to the girls who might not call back.

* * *

Who will tell me when I am ready?

* * *

I want I want I want.



February 4th, 2009

The sun came out at last yesterday, burning off low-lying haze and memories of grey days. The boys and I went to the Tierpark, relished the light and shadows.

Protected: Innocence (working title)

February 3rd, 2009

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January wrap-up

February 2nd, 2009

My experiment with listing out my writing goals in December went so well that I’m making it a regular part of my writing practice. At the beginning of the month I type out my broad goals for the month, print them out, and tack them to the cork-board hanging above my desk. I can keep track of my progress and make notes on the page as the month rolls along.

January was a strange month; it started with a burst of energy and ended with me falling into a wordless lull. Experience has shown me that something is going on under the surface during these seemingly quiet periods, so I’m trying not to push too hard, but at the same time I don’t want to give myself over the down-turn completely. Experience has also shown me that I can use a lull as an excuse to get lazy. It’s a balance I still have trouble finding.

Nevertheless, I did meet most of January’s goals:

  • Follow up with [magazine still holding a submission]. I sent a follow-up email but haven’t received a reply. Now what do I do?
  • Write short prose and submit to this beautiful journal. Didn’t get to this one.
  • Begin piecing together a post-partum depression essay I’ve been avoiding.  I’ve started the “thinking out-loud” process on this one.
  • Revise a submission package I’ve been sitting on and write a cover letter. I even put it in the mail!
  • Write four new poems. Almost; I made it to three.
  • Continue revision work on three or four poems.

That’s a really good month! Especially for one that includes a lull and a poor poor Boychen cutting three molars and a canine at the same time. Seriously, Mother Nature, you couldn’t have tweaked the timing there?