Randomness and the odd attachment to a machine

March 25th, 2009

It’s official. My hard-drive is fried and R has given up working on it and has gone ahead and ordered me a new one. It should arrive by the weekend and early next week I’ll have my old computer back. I’m looking forward to it. I didn’t lose anything because of our backup system and I haven’t been left without a computer – and a laptop at that – but I’ve had a hard time working on this machine and not just because the European keyboard keeps me backtracking and searching for the apostrophe. I have a hard time doing thoughtful work on this loaner because it’s a loaner. It all feels so strange and temporary and unreal. I’m using notebooks for my poetry but I’ve been reluctant to blog from this computer. How strange that a hunk of wire and sturdy plastic has become a comforting item.

Disconcerting, too, and a wake-up call not to get attached to the tools.

* * *

R is taking a little getaway to recover after writing his master’s thesis while holding down a full-time job and never once shirking on the homefront.

* * *

R and I recently decided that we should each get at least one solo vacation a year. I’m thinking Prague. Talk to me, readers, about Prague. (Especially you.)

* * *

A journal that passed on a poem seven months ago emailed me out of the blue and said they’d like to use it in an upcoming themed edition. Seven months. An editor remembered a poem of mine for seven months. There is a wrinkle I need to smooth out, but at any rate it’s flattering.

* * *

I hope to get out of the short snippets mode soon, I really do.

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.

The first word

January 3rd, 2009

Goals, resolutions. Lists. I love them. I may break them but I can’t help but make them. I love a new calendar, an empty journal, a clean page. The first day of the year – for that matter the first minute of the day if I could only wake up every day remembering this – is like the first word of a poem. It’s just starting and there is that tingling feeling in my brain and my heart and my fingers that tells me the poem is going somewhere and there is the whole rest of the page to fill and I’m writing with a new pen. The first word…a poem could take off in any one of a dozen different directions after that first word, the lines skittering off like rabbit tracks in the snow. The first day…a year could go anywhere starting from that first day.

Here’s where I want my year to go:

  • Write (at least) fifty-two poems
  • Send out (at least) twelve submission packages. At least ten of these need to be realistic journals but once or twice I can shoot for the moon.
  • Subscribe to four new journals
  • Attend one writing workshop, retreat or class
  • Read (at least) twelve new collections

The goals are mine, the specificity comes from January’s suggestions on meeting your writing goals. Specificity is a good thing. Numbers are reassuring. I’ve written one poem already, and I’ve smiley-faced it off my list.

The first word. The first word is the best word, because anything can happen next.

I can’t resist

October 24th, 2008

Before I began Magpie Days I gave a lot of thought to the look I wanted, to the tone I wanted, for this blog. This is the blog that is connected to my writing life, my poetic life. This is the blog I’m using to try to find a community of writers to help me out of this Alpine isolation. This is the blog that might appear in a contributor’s bio. So I want a certain tone here, you understand, a tone I wouldn’t mind being connected to my professional self.

But oh heavens I really, really cannot resist posting this “Song for Sarah (Palin)”:

Normal introspective literary-minding posting to resume soon. Unless I find something this funny again, in which case all bets are off. Hat tip to ReadingWritingLiving for the link.

Poetry roundup

November 30th, -0001

A few poems for you this week:

In Thrush, “Boundary Breach” by Kierstin Bridger.