23 March 2018

The What Next


I'm trying like heck to remember what last year's spring break was like. Has it gotten to that point? Where every year blurs into the past few? Please say no. I suppose having a blog is good because it reminds you of what you did last year and beyond, like a Timehop that's mostly words.

Just now I put on my go-to blue house hoodie. I'm someone who alternates between cold and not-cold on a pretty regular basis. I regulate between writing and not writing on a much less frequent schedule, as in: during breaks from teaching I write, and during the time when I'm teaching, I am not writing. 

This is difficult because my work as a professor and editor often primes me for writing, such as discussing process or reading a particularly magnificent poem to my classes. Currently we're reading Diane Seuss in my graduate literature seminar, and every time I open Four-Legged Girl I am knocked out of my chair by its power. 

In both hoodie on and hoodie off times I'm frequently victim to The What Next. The Is This Going To Be A Book. The Should I Write More Poems Like This Or Just Stop. I think awareness, and giving it a name, is a crucial first step in confronting such feelings. Then I ask myself if this particular anxiety (I have many) is one that is doing me any good, such as the nagging feeling that I really ought to clean out the cupboards and merge all the almost-empty boxes of uncooked pasta.

Sometimes this energy can encourage me to revisit a project, or to think about it with more seriousness, but usually it causes me to spin my wheels and fret and do another load of laundry just to feel as if I've accomplished something. 

A book is like a hardy yet reclusive fruit that needs to grow in a certain degree of dark. If you keep walking into its room and flipping the fluorescent overhead lights on just to check to make sure it's still there, you'll make it wilt. Or so I will tell myself as I attempt to write some new poems this coming week. 

If I'm not cold, I'll hang the hoodie over the back of my chair, just in case. 

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