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love letter and birthday retrospective

July 8, 2017


[Reflecting on having worried about ‘getting it right’ celebrating a milestone, which consumed the entire year between 49 and 50]

In January, I came up with a list of elements I wanted to be sure would be present:

  1. pretty clothes that feel pretty on my body
  2. jewelry
  3. cake (i.e., a delicious dessert)
  4. fruity drinks, nonalcoholic
  5. flowers
  6. dancing
  7. attractive setting
  8. trees
  9. interesting people


Having done several dry runs, combining various elements, I’ve discovered a few things.


Hoping to wrangle 9 elements is… stressful!

And if I somehow managed to achieve 7 or 8 of the elements, in flavor notes I enjoy… I can’t really enjoy any of them properly, because I’m overwhelmed by sensation, by intensity, and by the sheer volume of things going the way I want.

It’s unprecedented in my life to have a mass of complicated things go (anything like) the way I want.

I don’t… enjoy it. It’s weird and kind of icky.

{I wish I didn’t have to admit that.}

{I wish it wasn’t true.}


I like being someplace new, or at least different from home, on or around my birthday.

I like being able to surprise myself with discovering my setting: left to my own devices, I will never run out of things that catch my interest.

But if I have to combine those two elements with… human-social obligations, a great deal of my enjoyment dims. Even if it’s friends.

Spouse has been within earshot, or just down the path, or, in one memorable case, right there with me, when I’ve had encounters with the numinous. There’s only been one other time that I had a numinous encounter when a friend was further down the path from me. {New Mexico holds its own magic for me.} In all cases, though, for those moments, I was in my own world, me and the Other and the World.

I think it might be a special channel of hyper-focus.


I enjoy being with people I like, but human-social interactions (with people other than Spouse) drown how I want to feel on my birthday.

My birthday is about me. My birthday is for me. It’s the only recurrent day like that, and it happens every year.



This was the first ‘big’ birthday I celebrated in an autistic way, and… I liked it. Different [low-key; elements spread out over multiple days], but good.

Spouse wrote me a poem for my birthday… about me. And I recognize myself! Best gift ever.


8.22.16 A

I keep dreaming about Latvia. […] I want my poetry to be infused with joy and sense of place, and okay, loss and grief, but not… atrocities and horrors.

And yet… I’m the one in our family who feels everything. Who remembers family stories my grandparents told us when I was small. I’m the one who grew up on mythology and fairy tales, believing in what couldn’t be seen straight on. And I’m the one who became a writer and a poet.


8.22.16 B

On the — rare — occasions that someone [in my family of origin] has ‘had my back’ when I fucked up, what that meant was them saying something like, “Mea… tries hard, but you know she’s crazy, right?” Or, “Mea’s a little dim”, or “We love her — family, what can you do? — but she just doesn’t learn…”


If I was ‘doing everything right’, what would be lost?



Solving problems that matter.


Existing at edges, crossing borders.

Always being a stranger.





Meeting Others. Recognizing our kinship. Writing.



My Resolution this year is… to stop trying. Just exist, just be, just roll with what comes my way, and not ‘try to make specific things happen’. Just… learn who I am when I’m not judging myself.


Out of the car, I don’t listen to music much. I do watch music videos: Sara Bareille’s “Brave”; any version of “Call Me Maybe” with cute guys.  Captain Awkward recently introduced me to Ingrid Michaelson, whom I love; I re-watch her “Girls Chase Boys” and “Hell No” (with Deaf West Theater) videos over and over. Dancing! Sexy people wearing eyeliner and red lipstick! Body language! I also love Miike Snow’s “Genghis Khan” video. More dancing! Moral dilemmas! People in love! Joy!


Poetry for me is somewhat akin to… performance art? And those big ‘earth art’ things, usually out in deserts?             My [attempt at a visual/affiliation web] poem brings together people (nonhuman and human) and places, but ephemerally. Like a dance, it exists when experienced, it exists because I thought of it and made a record of it, but it’s not an object exactly. It’s meta-.



For a long time, a lot of my poems were, I now see, kind of self-consciously about water. Mea, and water.



I like letters because they make it easy to talk about one’s inner life. In conversation, though — face-to-face, or on the phone — I can never figure out how to make the leap from the other person’s “Annoying X that happened at my job!”/”Cool Y my dog did/friend said!” to my own “I was thinking about Z, and I realized [epiphany] Q! Isn’t that neat?”       Ime, most people care about things that other (mostly human) people do or say; they don’t care about thinking. But thinking is almost my whole life. If I can’t share that, I feel forced to mutilate myself so I can appear “normal”, all the while talking about things I can’t relate to, and have nothing of my own to contribute.


Writing poetry performs many services for me: (a) feeling my way through past traumas to arrive at making sense; (b) a laundry list of events, almost like a tarot reading, showing me what’s actually bothering me; (c) playing with sounds or with words, practicing different rhythms; (d) “sketching” with techniques I’m not sure how to make part of poetry — illustrations; folding, tearing, or crumpling the paper; topo maps; “dispersing” poems; (e) philosophically exploring my relationship to places.             All of that right-brained experimentation coexists uneasily with my left-brained love of data collection, sorting and categorizing, data analysis.


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