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a day in the life

November 12, 2014

On my way to see P, I returned 5 books (that I mostly hadn’t read) and picked up my 2 hold requests books from the library.

After I saw P, I clambered into the immense pile of oak and apple leaves and pine needles in the parking lot next to my car, and laid down in it. Blissful! I took selfies with both my phone, and my digital camera. I really would’ve liked nothing better than to look up at the sky, from the leaf pile, and daydream the day away.

I went over to the old apartment, and the day felt . . . orange . . . so I picked up:

  • my orange glass vase;
  • my orange Baggalini luggage-bag, that I stuffed with: a roll of multicolored art paper, my orange Camper shoes, brown turtleneck, blue-and-white floral skirt, 2 pads of paper (one with writing, one blank), a notebook from AROHO 2013, a blank book with a pink-floral cover, a yellow-green origami folder;
  • books on quilting, fashion design, trees, and slime molds;
  • an solid-ivory-colored cotton blanket {that I think I should dye, or get someone else to dye for me};
  • a small craftsman-style bookcase {that will hold my poetry books, in my writing nook}.

I also rearranged some of my piles of stuff that still need to come over. Lots of books remain! Lots of papers! A whole bag full of fine fabrics. Rolls of art papers. Lots and lots of “assorted”/”miscellaneous”.

At a post office some miles from the one where we currently have a box, I checked into how much a post office box costs: a small one is $40 for 6 months. {I have no idea why my unconscious mind is so interested in me getting my own post office box, when Spouse and I already have one.}

I talked to our new mail carrier. (I was hoping at least one of the books I ordered recently would’ve arrived, but they hadn’t.) When he opened the whole row of boxes with his key, I saw the surnames of 3 of our neighbors, and I unobtrusively memorized them, until I was able to get upstairs and write them down on my list of people in our building. I want to be much more neighborly this time!

I emailed the Society for Neuroscience about registering to attend their Saturday session at the conference this weekend. (Had already tried tweeting 2 different relevant accounts with my questions, but no one answered.)

I spent several hours on Twitter, interspersed with doing 3 loads of laundry, folding, putting away.

I noticed that my ears kind of hurt, in that way that, a few months ago, eventually resulted in me visiting Urgent Care, and finding out I had a sinus infection. I wish I’d noticed this earlier in the day, because I’m pretty sure the nose spray that was so helpful last time is in the medicine cabinet in the old apartment. Otoh, I’ll be going back there tomorrow and Friday anyway, so I can pick it up then. Or maybe I’m getting a cold? I almost never get sick, so I keep forgetting what the symptoms are. But my nose has been running a lot, and my throat’s been a bit sore too, now that I think about it. (And I have a headache, but I have those most days, so that’s no help.) Tomorrow, nose spray!

I recharged my phone.

Spouse said he’d be taking his car in (air leak in one tire) tomorrow, so I asked what time we’d have to be there. 7:30?!? (For reference, I generally wake up at 9:30 a.m.) Guess I’ll be going to bed early-ish again tonight.

I keep forgetting that I bought the spiky orange fruit on the counter so I could photograph it. I look at it, I admire how pretty it is, and then . . . I don’t remember to photograph it. I admired it again this afternoon, as I munched on my (deliciously fudgy) gluten-free brownie.

(Via Twitter) I read a long piece of writing by one of my River Sisters from AROHO 2013, linked by someone else at AROHO (not a River Sister). I believe this writing is an excerpt from her book, that will be coming out in 2015. Alas, she doesn’t have a blog herself — this was a guest post on a community blog.

{I feel really conflicted about the whole River Sisters name. “River Siblings” does not have nearly the same ring to it. Everyone else really could be “sisters”; it’s just me (I’m guessing anyway) who feels partially erased by the term. Also, my relationship with my only actual sister is toxic, so the word “sister” doesn’t have happy associations for me at all. But I really liked almost-all of the women in my group, and it’s so nice to have belonged to a group.}


After an absence of 2 weeks, saw P again. Caught her up to speed on what’s been going on. Talked about the dreams I’ve blogged about, a little bit. Talked about continuing on into 2015, which became the heart of the session. I learned so much from that conversation!

When I have a project I’m in love with, I dive right in [imagine the arm-hand gestures]. The more intense, the better! I love intensity.

But… {I don’t know how to explain this well} I can’t modulate the intensity. I can’t smooth it out, so that I’m less intense, but it’s more sustainable. That’s not at all how it works. I described it to Spouse recently as, “the inner drive (to do the project) is the actual driver; my conscious mind is the car”. Iow, my conscious mind is definitely not “in charge” of what happens.

What I can do is . . . limit the continuous time I spend on any project. That is, my projects are time-delimited, by design. That limitation makes them a safe vessel for all my energies. I can delve as deeply as I need to, as deeply as possible. But only because it’s short. Or because I take frequent breaks, during which I do completely-different things, to recharge/replenish.


I did this with poetry. Reading books about poetry started off pretty slow, “whenever something interesting catches my eye at the library”. As I started writing my own poetry, and then connecting with other poets and writers, I started seeking out more books on writing and poetry. Last autumn, I asked 15 AROHO poets to recommend 3 poets I should read; 8 people responded. I ended up reading 27 books by (or about) those 24 poets. But I also read every poetry anthology, collection, or how to book I could find. And in the month of September, I committed to, and in fact did, write “a poem a day” for the entire month. Around the time I realized poetry had become more than a project, but I was actually kind of obsessed with it, poet JMG said poets who read 100 poetry collections wrote better poems than those who just read poetry journals. So, I created a spreadsheet of all the literary-type books I’d read (using data from LibraryThing), and discovered I’d read 80-some poetry collections. I took on his challenge, eventually reading 106 collections. But… I made it by the skin of my teeth; I had to force myself to finish the last handful. I was done. I couldn’t bear to think about poetry, or writing, for weeks. I didn’t write poems. I didn’t write creative nonfiction. When I got books from the library, they were all fiction, or history, or art.

Since the end of September, I’ve written 3 poems. I’ve tried to write ~10 poems, but most of them didn’t gel.

I am back to reading poems, but individually (online journals, not books). I’m trying to read a book on poetry-craft (although it’s slow going).

Yesterday, I sent out 4 poems, to 2 different journals. I’ll send another one out next week.

Some part(s) of me want to be able to write more poems right now, but . . . there’s just nothing to draw from.

So, that project was open-ended for a long time. But I knew it couldn’t go on — increasing, increasing — indefinitely. It got so intense that I burned out.

I’m sure some people would counsel me to find a way to modulate my intensity so that I could continue on “sustainably”, stably, whatever.

I actually don’t want that.

I love my intensity. I love what my intensity and delving-deep allows me to accomplish and learn. I love the freedom of being able to “go anywhere” because it doesn’t persist. I don’t have to live with it forever, so I can revel in all the flavor notes, even the bitter or peppery or kinda-odd-but-maybe-I-sorta-like-it?

The last thing in the world that I want is . . . stability. < shudder >

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