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what’s changed

March 5, 2017

For the past 2 years, I’d occasionally run across an old blog post of mine, and marvel at the interesting, insightful things I’d written about. Then I’d look at what I’ve written blog posts about in most of 2015 and all of 2016 and wonder what happened.

I’d feel bad about myself, but I sort of assumed it was partly/mostly because… I was spending almost of all of my emotional energy on Poetry, so there wasn’t anything available for Prose.

Last week, I had a different thought: what if Prose (like Poetry, like music, like a bunch of other creative things I’ve tried) has an essentially-dedicated wellspring? And, it got depleted, needs to be replenished?

In the last week, as it happens, I have had thoughts that seemed like proto-blog posts of old, but none of them quite seemed worth the bother of writing about.

Until this morning.

I woke up 3 times, always with the same image and its words in mind.


Waiting for coffee to brew, I pondered, well, what has changed since December 2014? Is there enough stuff that I could, in fact, be in a different place emotionally, and therefore have new and distinct ways to write about my experiences?


We moved to a new apartment in November 2014. New neighborhood, but also new town. Not as rural-suburban edge as the old place, but just down the hill from an access trail to a reservoir (a forested park with trails).

We live on a hill. (We sort of did in the old place, but I never thought of it that way. I’m conscious of it now, so much that I look for hills everywhere we go, and actually, our new town is very hilly altogether.)

At the foot of our hill is a lovely spot with boulders that can be sat upon, a flowering dogwood, a little stream. If I walk down there at night, I often see toads and other small critters on the sidewalk or the street. (Once, a snake that had been run over.) In the spring, there are spring peepers in a pond just beyond the trees to the left. A fox crossing into the nearby woods. One time that I stayed up all night, then went for a dawn walk, I saw bats gamboling above the hill. Magical.

(I also had a traumatizing encounter with human beings at that spot, late one night in July 2015. I haven’t taken a night walk since. I miss them.)


Mid-December 2014, I finished my 6-month course of body movement/talk therapy with ZT… on a sour note. During an early conversation with her about my financial situation, I felt concerned that she hadn’t properly understood my point. So I tried again in October. Every single session after that, she tried to ‘convince’ me to continue therapy into the new year — otherwise, without her, I’d “fall apart”.

At that time, Spouse’s health insurance had an unusually large deductible, which had only been met (before I started seeing ZT) because… I’d had a lot of expensive health issues. We’d also received a windfall of a tax return, and I’d used all of my portion on paying what remained as out-of-pocket for her fees. In October, I’d been adamant about how the money would, in fact, run out by the end of the year (it actually ran out before then, and I had to pay out of my savings).

She didn’t offer a sliding scale. Seeing her once a week meant driving 100 miles; for several weeks, we met twice. (My car is getting old, and, having been unemployed since 2009, I may never be able to replace her.)

I… trusted her too much in the beginning, and (unconsciously) went into a type of boundaryless mode that, unfortunately, I’m prone to fall into with seemingly-Demeter-archetype older women.  Complicating that, I now realize, therapy with ZT… essentially became a special interest. Obsessive immersion is how that works.           When that involves another human being, it’s very tricky to do without lots of complications. If I’d known I was autistic… But that discovery was 6 months away.


June 2015, I figured out I was autistic. There was a short flurry (‘cluster’) of blog posts here relating to all of that.


I met Drabhu. {maple tree-friend}

I have a rather different relationship to them than I had with Tenimah or Anamara. {maple tree-friends, at our old apartment}

Drabhu is part of my writing-poems experience, and appears by name in several poems. (Even though I was writing poems when we lived near T and A, it never occurred to me to write about them.)


I have other named trees here. My practice is for trees to ‘tell’ me what they want me to call them; I don’t pick a name. The maple to Drabhu’s left, at the corner of the sidewalk, is Helena. The tree (haven’t yet identified what type) on the other side of the buildings behind us… they picked “Ada Limón”, like the poet. (I had been musing to myself what a pretty name Ada Limón is, how perfect for a poet, but I haven’t read her work yet. Maybe the tree likes poetry. Maybe they’re a fellow poet.)


In the old neighborhood, there was a pretty walk I could take down Austin Drive that deposited me at GRSP. I would scramble under the bridge to get down to the trail by the river, my river. I had a favorite spot I would walk to, curled up at the feet of sycamores at water’s edge, watching my river.

Going to see a… reservoir… it’s not the same. When I think of lakes, I think of Lake Michigan, or Lake Superior. (I grew up in Chicagoland.) Great Lakes, well, it’s right in the name: they’re big enough that they have waves. To me, lakes have waves. Our local reservoir in no way compares to a Great Lake.

Rivers should move. I changed my name to Meander partly because rivers, partly because rivers moving. (Other reasons too, of course.)

I haven’t yet found a new easy walk or drive to where I can visit with my river. I really need to.

As it happens, last week I was running errands, and detoured onto Austin Drive. There’s a place you can park and walk down to a different part of the trail, which I did. Someone was sitting at my usual spot! So I continued down the trail until I reached the spot past the bridge.

There is now a buried pipeline not 100 feet from my sycamores, continuing under my river. Fuck. NO DAPL.

{This has become a topic for another day.}


There’s a ceramics studio nearby. They give classes. I’ve long thought about taking one, but it’s never worked out timing-wise. Now that I have 2 names to put to my muscle issues, I’m… leaning against picking back up a creative activity that requires a lot of punishing stress on my wrists and hands. No matter how much I enjoyed doing it. I was in much better overall health in 2002–03.

But… I’ve revived an interest in sculptural things, more like Calder’s mobiles (which I have loved since childhood).

I have ideas for adding mobile sculptural elements to my studio, although I haven’t quite figured out how to apply them yet…


My studio!

The first incarnation of my studio, my “green room” (because it had grass green carpeting), began in our house, 1995.

It’s taken me, well, ever since then, iterating, iterating, iterating, to create something that works.

This version’s success, ironically, owes a debt to the traumatizing beginnings of the one in our previous apartment.

Because that experience was so dreadful, and had such lasting effects in all sorts of other parts of my life, I was very careful this time to… set up the bones of the place exactly how I needed them to be. (No interference from Spouse.) The move this time was orders of magnitude easier (<12 miles vs. 600), which meant we could do it in easy stages. But… I kept the studio mostly empty for quite a while, until together we got a sense of how it could be configured.

And now, it’s the most magical spot in the apartment! (Spouse agrees.)

I love spending time in there.

I had kept thinking that “studio” and “writing nook” (now created, in the Big Room) were separate because, well, “art” =/= “writing”.

They’ve been converging, in some circumstances, lately, and… I believe being in this studio while thinking, dreaming, and, yes, writing, is improving what I’m able to do.


I have a writing nook. Sitting in the green-purple-swirly slipcovered chair, I look out through the balcony doors right at Drabhu. Sometimes at night, I sit there in the dark, looking at Drabhu and thinking aloud. Really good stuff.

Some of its aesthetic elements have, over time, grown to resemble those used in the studio. They’re siblings of a sort. Well, maybe cousins.


Our bedroom is decorated.

My emotion-color synesthesia means that my aesthetic surroundings are much, much more important than they seem to be for other people. I often write, sitting on the bed, so it’s important that I like being in the bedroom, I like looking around. (That wasn’t true in the old place.)

Spouse has developed decorating opinions. We have some shared elements here, so I’ve worked hard at coming up with configurations we both appreciate.


This apartment is bigger than the previous one, and is laid out more pleasingly. The old one’s layout was claustrophobic and, frankly, the whole place was just… ugly. It depressed my spirit to be trapped in there.

Here, I’d rather be home than going out. (Unless there are baby leaves and/or flowers outside.)


I have houseplants again!

Currently, a variegated ivy, an African violet (not flowering), a pot of cacti (not flowering), a cultivated plant I don’t know the name of (tall, blade-like leaves, variegated), 2 small plants transplanted from the 2016 potager — don’t know what kind they are either.

Considering a bigger potted plant for the writing nook. A bonsai for the bedroom. And… someday I’d like to have a little tree again. Maybe a fiddle-leaf fig: their leaves are so cool.


In September 2015, Spouse changed jobs. He’s much happier, the new place is better run (the old place has been falling apart), the people are smarter and more interesting, he’s learning stuff. His current bosses appreciate him better.


All of this is more than enough to give me new things to feel about, think about, write about.

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