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emptying out

December 16, 2014

It doesn’t look like I’m going to meet my goal of 400,000 words written on this blog by December 31, 2014. But when I began the process in mid-October, I was at 331,408 words. Before this post, I had arrived at 382,723 words, an increase of 51,315 words (15%, in 2 months).

I’m periodically writing poems, of (mostly) 2 types: the personal, trying-to-figure-out-what-I’m-doing sort; and silly/fun/experimental ones. I’m also reworking wasp witch. Well, in fits and starts.

I may be writing a review of a poetry collection soon. Or I may not. I’ve been waffling about the whole idea since the book arrived.

I’ve only just begun unpacking things in my studio (even though we moved into this new place 5 weeks ago). I have odds and ends that I could have discarded before we moved but I didn’t have the emotional energy to spare then: ancient diskettes and software (to be sent away for recycling); books I don’t want anymore (donated to Better World Books); miscellaneous items that I no longer have a use for (probably will be thrown out).

I finally bought one of the poetry collections written by my small group leader at AROHO 2013, and read it. She’s experimental and kind of a conceptual artist-type, so I thought it might be pretty cool. It’s actually more like the ‘word salad’ type of surreal . . . which I don’t care for at all. I won’t be keeping it.

I haven’t done a second week of my Silent Retreat, and I probably won’t. (Wish I would, but the logistics are bothersome.) Would like to find ways to incorporate elements of it into my everyday life.

I bought a cheapo tea kettle from the supermarket and I’m not happy with it. Which means, no tea for almost 5 weeks. I continue to miss both the taste, and the comforting ritual of it.


Right now, I feel . . . really empty. Blank.

January 2015, instead of enjoyable things to anticipate, will bring me ~ my next round of literary rejections. A visit to my in-laws. Cold and miserable weather. Possibly hearing from AROHO, which I expect will be a rejection too.

So even if I didn’t have seasonal depression, there’s nothing in the immediate future to look forward to.

As I was thrashing around in a shame spiral Sunday, I caught a glimmer of an idea that . . . crying over the same things I have been feeling shitty about for 30 years may, at this point, be a surface-level diversion and distraction away from deeper-down things that I could be focusing on. Stuff I’m afraid of broaching. Crying and feeling like a miserable loser are, in their own way, comfortable. What’s beckoning me from beneath . . . is not.

Which seems straightforwardly like SEDNA, but I think it’s more TETHYS-ish.

And maybe that trickster Octopus deity whose name I can never remember.


Exactly a year ago, I was working on my Sketchbook Project 2014, which ultimately contained experimental poems, hybrid poems/illustrations, and a list of interrelated terms I hoped to write poetry about.

I caught a glimpse of My Inner Alligator (a previously unknown aspect) in March during a writing session at a poetry festival. Later in the year, I drew HIPPO. But the only poetry I’ve written that seems to go to the places evoked by the list of terms . . . appeared in surreal poems, where I began with playfulness and openness, and then something strange (in a good way) appeared.

How do I welcome more strangeness? How do I write more from such a mindset? Will I ever learn to effectively integrate real life with surreal elements?


In December 2013, I met with out-of-state family of origin members visiting DC. At the time that occurred, once again I got swept up in thinking This Could Re-invigorate Our Moribund Relationship(s) — Let’s Go For It!

I tried really hard, for way longer than even I thought it could still recover. Once it was really, truly dead though, I felt . . . relief. I never have to feel like I didn’t try hard enough. Or try enough different approaches. I had lots of ideas, and I tried them all.

They failed.

How can I miss people I never really knew? I can’t. I don’t. That’s the sad part, not the mere fact that we’re no longer in contact.


I keep thinking that taking a break from poetry for a while, to concentrate on fiber arts and other tactile activities, might be the best thing for my hands-and-mind. But also, somehow, improve my writing and poetry skills.

I have to trust the process.

I think I’m ending 2014 realizing that my poetry skills are at that threshold of 10%, which inevitably means . . . it’s time to turn my focus elsewhere for a while. Let things co-mingle behind the scenes in my unconscious mind, and surprise me in a few months. Stop trying so hard.

This river has dried up for the nonce. But that’s seasonal and needful and makes sustainability possible.

After “preparing” for 11 months, I’m ready to sink deeply into the earth, or the sea, and see which sea monsters know me. I don’t fear my selves. I don’t fear duende.

Descent awaits.

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