We had a great time last night, cookout, fireworks, down on the farm with Daddy, so beautiful, weather so perfect, which for us means low humidity. We weren’t sticky or sweaty. It was perfectly cool, more like a night in early June or mid-May. Great fireworks, thank you Dale, thank you James who provided the grand finale. Saw people I hadn’t seen for many years. Wholesome. Family. Fun. I was loud and laughed and laughed and Linda Sue clapped and squealed at every burst of flame and flash and I laughed at her and she laughed and everyone laughed all at once over and over.

The night before me and Net and Alex drank and made merry up until two o’clock gave voice lessons to Net smoked too many real cigarettes drank too much red wine sat in back yard maybe a never-before. Fun fun. Net wants to drink tea next time. We would certainly feel better the next day.

I am able to get up from chairs without using my hands. Usually.

Lots of things are becoming gross in my mouth. Textures. Yucks. Things I liked. Biscuits. Chewy bread. Wendy’s little burgers. But I’m queer for string cheese cold fruit bananas raspberries blackberries Pink Ladies Braeburns Greek yogurt have discovered the fucking joy of real tomatoes in season Dale has a garden. Dale said two black crumb and a yellow boy. I said the change in me is the clouds. Net said there you go. Alex said I’ll steal. There is music in our house.

I haven’t written anything or submitted anything. I have my first student through CNF’s Mentor Program and have been reading through her work. She’s really an excellent writer. I don’t know that I can help her, she’s already so polished and successful. But I like doing that sort of work and want to do more.

I need more work. I need to take out/put out ads on web. Any suggestions?

Yesterday, I read a marvelous piece on Medium-- The Schooling of Emery Dixson This is lovely and Medium rocks. If you haven’t been there, go there. Go Megan Mayhew Bergman! Must read more of her.

Need to do my work today need to get in the water so very good to move to move to play. I hope Dale will come with me and play with me and talk with me. But it’s hard to make yourself get up and go on the holiday weekend to move yourself when you work full time. I wish he could retire too.

I have heard a couple of lines voices. I may make some written things today pieces bits briefs in ether in brain we don’t write letters anymore. Yesterday Dale read me a letter George Washington to Martha I don’t want to lead this fight I’d rather be with you I don’t want you to be afraid unhappy I have made a will. So much writing then use of hands so much elegance why have we lost so much that respect that courteous love? How did we educate these elite? Why can’t we do that again? Again? Slow slow slow down read real books essays look into microscopes still remember my squamous cells the microbe shoe never cat into a frog or cat wouldn’t have liked that I assisted my teacher seventh grade me and Angela she told me blowjobs she told me sex the teacher gave me a butterfly necklace was he creepy I kept it and wore it. We sat facing a window in a room between rooms a blackroom behind us the red light was on I think Angela went in and made out with dark-haired Greg a junior the smell of chemicals doubt she came sure he did was Mr. ? creepy botany puzzles knife collection he loved my brother’s hand-hewn swords.

There are so many ways to communicate evolving so quickly. I don’t think we’ve lost face-to-face intimacy so much as we have lost consideration and thought and elegance. I do love the challenge of twitter so small so often powerful and Facebook the clips and bits staying in touch and Instagram learning speaking through pictures I love the connection the over-connection even but we are losing the thought before the composition, the thought before the speech. Real writing takes time, real relationships take time. Email is great. Blogging is great. I love texting my friends and speaking in that medium, but our communication is getting faster and faster and shorter and shorter. It reaches further, much further. Farther farther. But if we were really writing, really thinking---perhaps we would be more thoughtful and deliberate which forces a different meaning a different commitment to each other. I don’t think the “face-time” is the point. The point is how shallow the water is getting.

I used to write letters to Jane and she to me then we stopped. I used to use brown package paper weathered it with fire wrote with turkey feather dipped in ink sent these lovely things to my friends. We had a Xmas party at my house we all wrote a gift, something written. We hung the envelopes on the tree we each turned round and round with closed eyes and drifty dizzy reached out and chose our gift. But I don’t remember mine. I wonder if I kept it somewhere. Something special maybe lost maybe from same girl who had me play while she sang in the Junior Miss official pageant Becky said why her you should be the one to enter.

I used to keep the birdseed packets from weddings I played piano sometimes sang I put the nettings of seed in a special velvet box with top or maybe the pirate treasure box cross and bones chest. Later I looked inside and the little bags were full of half seeds half maggots.

Somewhere there’s a box of pictures and a pack of Virginia Slims we’ve come so far polaroids were magic. The cigarettes smelled sad and distant last time I smelled them my friend Tammy sink of dirty dishes kitchen table my first smoke so skinny a smoke.

Eat a cold banana. Write a piece of a thing. Cold raspberries so lucky this cold box in our kitchens Jude Law said I love this ice box so much I could fuck it I think that’s true.



I may stop writing paragraphs.

Doing second edits for the novel.

My hairstylist found a spot on my head. It had no hair.

It was round with a divot in the middle.

The doctor doesn’t know what it is.

The doctor took a biopsy.

We will know something in ten days. Or longer. 

My ANA is normal, if that means anything to you.

My stitches are blue and match my new do.

I have oxycodone WITHOUT acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is dangerous.

Never swallow.

I just started another round of ciprofloxacin 500 mg.

I am seeing the pain management guy in July.

I do not know if I need to see the pain management guy.

I am often confused. I can’t get my words out.

I was rejected by a massage therapist. On the phone. Less than twenty seconds. She didn’t feel “comfortable,” said she wouldn’t make me “happy.”

I was rejected by The New Yorker. Which always happens. Here is the rejection:

Dear Rebecca,

We are grateful for the opportunity to read and consider your new work. We very much regret not being able to carry it in the magazine. We do, however, look forward to reading more when the time comes.


Paul Muldoon, Poetry Editor

Elisabeth Denison, Poetry Coordinator

Like all writers, I am looking for coded messages in this rejection.

Like some writers, I love the comma before however, and the comma after however.

I have only two pieces slated for publication. I must do submissions.

I have my first student from the CNF mentoring program. I will mentor her.

I hope I feel well enough to go to church Sunday.

I’d like the blood of Christ. To drink it.

I want a new refrigerator.

I want a taupe tufted headboard.

I want new mattresses for the boys.

I don’t know what will happen next.

I don’t know if anything will happen.

Homer wrote, when the darkest covers his eyes.

Maybe the darkness will cover my eyes. Because of birds. Because of dirt.

Because my heart fell into his hands. Because he dropped it in the bushes.

Because I miss its pulsing. Its pound.

Because the old woman keeps it in a coffee can.

Because it won’t stop beating.

But, usually, the morning comes. And my back hurts.

And at the end of the day, I can’t remember what I did all day.


I find myself at cross purposes. I’ve not written here lately. I’ve not written here because I feel I must now be professional on this site, because I have a novel coming soon, because I have published a book of poems (which I should be promoting), because if I want to be a serious writer I should write about serious things. I should talk about politics. I should talk about women’s rights, or climate change. I should talk about writing, publications, books, maybe review books. I should do things that would help along a writer’s career, my career. I shouldn’t ramble and rattle on about personal things, my life, my hot fire head, my woes up and down scatter I can’t think my back hurts everything hurts whine whine. I should just suck it up and be a grownup and move forward, be an adult, an adult who will be fifty years old in November, if I live that long, if the earth lasts that long.

But, I don’t know how to be that person. I talk to learn, I write to learn, I write to excise the disease tissue and worry the notes. Sometimes a journal post will send me reeling into a poem or an essay after I’ve puffed and woofed and whined and whinnied and damn I don’t think I can do it the grownup adult professional fifty-year-old person.

Raw Facts:

I quit my job.

I quit smoking and have begun to vap.

I had an unremarkable MRI of my lower back two evenings ago.

I published an essay in BLAZEVOX.

I have been diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome.

I was invited to submit to Sequestrum. They will publish an essay soon.

I am doing physical therapy, water therapy.

I have an essay coming out in the fall in Seneca Review.

I am working with a nutritionist.

Click should be out in August.

I am working with a food therapist.

I read a book on personality disorders.

I read a book on the sharp rise of insulin resistance and obesity around the world.

I discovered a new poet but I don’t know her name.

I discovered a better Prufrock—Edward Field’s “Unknown.” I suppose that’s moving on.

I have begun reading a book on the phenomenon of “voice hearing.”

I have submitted poems to The New Yorker, which is nothing new, but this time to a particular editor.

I have started something I would like to be a novel but will most likely not be a novel.

I have not yet finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Trees as it almost pushed me over the edge in a manic nuts downward drop onto rocks and crude oil phase.

I have written new lyric essays and a piece I think is fiction and also a couple poems.

I have watched the first season of Hannibal and love too much the elegance and beauty of the horrific murders, and the fine dining.

I watched About Time which is marvelous. Also, The Bothersome Man.

The rheumatologist was an ass, a silver-haired Russian with bees on his tie. He diagnosed me on the basis of my depression/Bipolar disorder. That explains everything he said. Thanks. Your tie is beautiful.

I am watching House on NETFLIX. I’ve never seen the ending.

I have been stretching but I have also been stupid. I lifted heavy groceries yesterday. Am ruing it today.

Dale and I are going to take Education for Ministry classes this fall on Monday nights.

I have been manic and spent tons of money. I am cycling but holding on.

I saw my shrink yesterday.

James was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, which can push one into heart failure. Treatment can improve heart failure. None of his doctors ever recommended that he be tested. They are all dolts.

My PT is gorgeous and does triathlons at least six times a year.

I once dated a guy who ran ninety miles a week.

I have gained weight.

I had blue streaks put into my hair two months ago. Now they are sea-foam greenish odd. Also, my hair is becoming curly wild. Also, I have learned to use product.

I have three new pairs of shoes. One pair is red. Everyone should try Fit Flops.

I am deep into a love affair with dates rolled in coconut.

I am learning to eat protein at every meal.

I have lost the boy’s savings bonds, but I found my passport.

I am completing the copyedits on my novel today.

I wish I had more girlfriends. Then again, I don’t.

I have two new pairs of glasses, one for reading, one for fashion, which are black and enormously large.

I have discovered Yves Delorme. Look it up. Swoon.

Real, triple-milled French soap is hard to find. Send me leads.

New towels, new matts. I now love string cheese.

I hate our dining table and enormous dish cabinet.

I bought a small dresser and have been getting rid of piles of clothes.

I have hired someone to deep clean the house this Saturday. Her name is Dee.

I posted on Twitter yesterday, and the day before.

Did you know they make dining tables with concrete tops?

Went a little crazy on new bathing products. Actually visited a real LUSH store.

Am going on a retreat in July, to the convent. Alone. This may lead to pray. Or unbalance the backporch.

Wearing hormone patch instead of taking hormone pills.

May have a persistent MERSA infection. No one knows.

Interior facts:

Thinking, speaking--impossible. Especially thinking. Especially speaking. But concentration okay. Up down up down I am a swing. Possibly with superpowers. I was fraught and confused and whirling and angry and furious when I met with my food therapist. At the end of the session he leaned toward me and said, “You need to grow up.” This affected me so profoundly, snapped me to uprighted my gumby spine brain baby cry baby shit I am ID shit, that I am now unsure of almost everything. Was I ever in pain? Is my head even sick? Is a pastry really just a pastry? Something in me has clamped down and said shut up. This is probably good. But maybe not.

I think that’s everything.

I am a TV. Signing off.

Nothing but bars. All night long.


Today I have a therapy appointment, a hearing test, a massage. The pest control person is coming at 5:30. I am trying to get in to see my doctor this morning. I want to discuss various things, but I really, really need to have my head looked at. Yes, my head, the bones and tissue, not the voices and swirl. I am emotionally fine. Stable. But there’s a bruise (?) on the left occipital lobe (?). This usually happens on the left side and when it does happy it is excruciating madness orange pain. I went to physical therapy for it and it helped. But this bruise (?) is different. I think I’m swollen. It feels like someone came in during the night and went at with a ballpein hammer. And it is not going away.

I have figured how to get my massage paid for with my medical savings account (Flex), so that will be a big relief. I wish that my insurance would pay, but they will only cover massage if it’s a conjunctive to chiropractic treatment. Stupid. All insurance should cover massage. Everyone would be less stressed, and feel relaxed, healthy. That would change the world.

I am reading a book that defines/explores personality disorders. I got the book because I wanted to read in more detail about my own disorder (histrionic), but the book as a whole is fascinating. I am learning many things about many things. Psychology has always been a fascinating subject for me, probably because I am mentally ill and have so many mentally ill relatives.

Today, this evening, I’m going to finish up with the student stories/letters and then I’m going to work on my private student’s stories. I also need to write up a course to teach through continuing education, some kind of workshop. I won’t make much (hardly anything) but it will be very cool I think.

Now I am going to the clinic. I go there all the time because you get right in and my insurance covers it just like a regular doctor’s visit.

Later, peeps.



moving on


1 Comment

So the odd thing about talking about writing and being a writer and how much you want to write and how much you want to quit your job so you can spend more time writing and that you’re sure you’ll write if you do quit working means that you will not put a finger to keyboard during these last two weeks, or even before, no good savory piece of a thing has been brought forth pulled lifted up from the rooty rooty creek bank. Not. A. Single. Thing.

But I have done it. I turned in my letter of resignation yesterday. It has been accepted. I can teach adjunct if I want. And I probably will. But I have done it and it feels right. And it feels nuts. But mostly it feels right. I have a bit of lingering stress/nerves because I must go to campus and do a fucking grade change, clean out my office, and have the exit interview. I have to go back there. I don’t want to go back there. I. Do. Not. But I must.

And I now I have to recreate my life. Revision. Twist my head clear around. I reached the fork and I have chosen. But the path is well-worn, dirt soft to my bare feet. I cannot remember the last time I walked barefoot down a well worn path. When I was a teen I put on my liberty overalls, maybe, and went to the Walk-a-Thon in Chickamauga Battlefield Park, and walked ten miles in my bare feet. The shoes I was wearing became unbearable, so. Someone from the newspaper came and took my photo—cute girl walking barefoot in the park on pavement, mostly. That was exciting. Anything for attention. The photo was never published. That was a dis. I got awful blisters. No one should walk ten miles on the pavement, farm girl or not. But a well-worn path, that dirt path, from the poem, from nineteen hundred and seventy-seven, I can still feel that.

I have stopped smoking. Got the nic inhaler. Boom. Done. Had a couple of awful cravings. Dived deep into the sugar pool chocolate honeybun, etc. Now, mostly gone, in spite of all the stress, grades, changes, things to deal with. I have quit my job and quit smoking. I have unraveled the blanket, Penelope. We are so alike, so alike. We will wait and wait and wait. Ah, but I found a better man than you. Lucky me. Unlucky you. Tennyson knew the real story. Ulysses was always a dick prick dumbass loser. But Athena loved him, stupid love. And you. There’s always someone to love a dick prick with flowing hair and glowing skin rising from the river. Let’s play ball, girls.

I see the nutritionist next week. I will finish everything up next week. I will be done, and ready to begin. I will somehow somehow relearn my life.


What a thing. I didn’t really realize it, but I got extremely up up straight up manic on Tuesday, so, so much happiness and love and joy and god and yellow. Then Tuesday night, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time. I didn’t turn on the TV. I read a book and that book may have pushed me over the edge. I’d heard and heard about Aimee Bender, but I’d never read anything. Then I read an online interview. Then I bought the e-book--The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The writing is magnificently on-point—spare, a woman’s muscle, slightly lyric/lilting bounce thud—and while I was reading it I felt myself learning, learning, I will be a better writer after I read this, after I suck this up, chew it up, take up its blood and shoot it into my arm. But the zero-bone chill of the girl the girl’s mouth the girl looking out through eyes that could be my eyes my own little girl eyes my own little girl brother the things I knew about my mother.

Then Wednesday more mania but so tired so tired with the brain not sleeping my brain swelled up bursting words words words words I will write this I will write this I will write this book and that book and that story and that poem and the ideas and words and phrases and words and characters speaking so loud loud loud and the students lifted me up up such joy in living in being with my lovely hearted girls and boys and and and I came home brain a swirl a pain a hurt my head was very sick. I wanted to write I wanted so badly to write or to read more of the book but I knew if I did that if I did the mouth would swallow me whole and down to the basement crazy snake place of knives so I held on and held on and called Dale he talked me down I took medicine dope a handful of pills called Annette and she read me lovely things, not too dangerous to hear, until I was ready for sleeping but even then the words kept coming and I pushed hard hard against them and fell asleep.

I slept a long time. Was groggy this morning. Am okay so far. Have to hold on. Just called shrink’s office. Will get a call back. This terrible wonderful awful exquisite disease its price is high its joy is higher but the hole the black center of the sucker is always waiting.


p.s. the glimmer--Blazvox is taking an essay for their next issue.

I continue to waffle the back and forth to work or not to work to dive headlong or not or yes or no or whistle myself free. The assistant head just emailed me and said my two CNF workshops will go to the new hire and I will be given an intro CW course and keep my readings in CNF and given another humanities course. This is neither surprising nor upsetting. I had so much joy yesterday with my humanities students, so much. I have at this late date figured out how to teach the class, how it should be, how best to reach in and out and give them room to grow. They aren’t so stupid overall, they just need seeds, watering, the most important chance to express themselves, their stories, their concerns and worries their I may or may not want this thing do I don’t I what why how when. This class should be about them, not about the books. If I teach again, we will springboard up up up and out from the books and do our thing the thing we want the thing we need the thing we most must.

This was a boost in arm and spirit, spoke exactly to where I am just now, not exactly clearing the woods but the thought the spur forward perhaps. Should/Must at Medium. It’s a lovely thing pretty with pictures pictures always help why ever graduate from picture books those that cut our teeth why ever grow up too tall to fit in small spaces under the table the Indian tent. If you’re at a crossroads if you’re wondering what to do how to live your life read this please this boosting needle to the heart this giver this vigor.

And this thanks, Alana, how could anyone not love this how could anyone not be touched yes, Rick I realize you will not but what’s lovely is a lovely thing when a soul speaks to a crowd of souls spreads wide his heart so wide you jump right in.

OCD it's love you see to lock and kiss and repeat press repeat

I’m thinking back thinking of reading the swing the sway remember Jenny that glittering thing of our Poetry Mondays remember Rachel I can’t remember their names but that feeling that sharing it wasn’t perfect it wasn’t critique it wasn’t so sophisticated but it mattered the way we felt it mattered the spark of the room it mattered the way we painted cave walls forty thousand years ago the way we learned to speak learned to think learned to reach up and grab stars.

Now, just now it clicked it clicked it clamped itself down adjunct adjunct adjunct adjunct for the joy for the I must be with them I must touch their circuits and wires they must touch mine for that thing that happens best when it happens with surprise when Eve turned away from the reflecting pool and walked toward Adam everything matters when we touch kiss share exchange our social intercourse our innermost our inner must.



Today. Today I am one of those tough plastic tube glorious thingys that bounce up and down in front of car dealerships and are happy because nothing no one could do that all day and not be happy. I am bouncing and windy. And yesterday. And last week, the week before that. Red, green, yellow. My brain on red, green, yellow. Orange. My brain on what on how on why on what do I really want, on is there a should? My brain on questions. I am waffling, waffling, sorry, sorry constituents. I did not represent you. I care only about myself, myself. I will become a lobbyist, a lobbyist for myself, for everything I want. But what a waste of time, for I do not know. What I want.

I do not know if I should continue to teach fulltime I do not know if I want to I do not know what my classes will be for the fall I only know they will change and if they change I will change and if I change I may not remain happy but there’s a terrible rub and this is it—teaching being with my students makes me happy can lift me when I’m a down wallow mudded thing so maybe teach adjunct take the pressure off maybe just quit altogether and do nothing but write but will I will I do that what I’ve always wanted except the crazy except the nuts but there’s plenty to do isn’t there in the world in my home town isn’t there plenty plenty to do and I can write write write I know it yes I can write and be happy except except except my students whom I love I do where else can I get them I love the crucible the space of ideas of challenge meh

Should I stay or should I go? The money, it turns out, does not so much matter, which is a mystery to me, how you can take all that money away and be okay thank you, husband, you do things well. Indeed. I’ve been thinking about online classes and tutoring (writing services on this site) mentoring, teaching in prison, teaching please the gods in an MFA low-res program. I’ve been thinking of doing my own workshops, surely there’s a demand for please help me write about myself I need to know what happened. And besides, who would work when they don’t need the money and they would/could/might write the very dickens out of the blessed world what the fuck?

I have two weeks left. Then I can spread my arms across the summer and write and decide and write and ponder these things in my heart. I have taught for ten years. Do I want ten more?


So I’ve worked and worked on getting this site going, and I’ve actually enjoyed most of it. Weebly is so, so much easier than Wordpress. Even when things got very stressful and I was on the phone with help/support, I didn’t get upset. And just look at the results! Isn’t it lovely? I have links to all sorts of publications, my books, my CV. I’ve hung out my shingle and will see what happens next—Writing Services.

I have two weeks left of the semester. I can’t wait till it’s over and done and done and over. So many things are going to change. To be different. To be better. Summer is coming.

If you are looking for a wonderful movie, watch Reaching for the Moon. It’s on NETFLIX. I had never heard anything about it, and the blurb on their site is stupid because it doesn’t give you even a HINT at what it’s about. I haven’t researched it yet, but the story is about the years Elizabeth Bishop lived in Brazil. But that’s all I knew—that she lived in Brazil for a few years. I didn’t know anything about her personal life and if this is anywhere close to the truth, then her life was fascinating. Watch this movie!

We have watched the second season of House of Cards. I call it “the evil people.” It is very well-done, very Shakespearean in a way, but it makes you stinky and nasty. It’s like Games of Thrones, but it’s worse in a lot of ways. There’s no gore, but there’s more cruelty somehow.

Loved the ending of Girls this season. Loved how Dunham’s letting them grow up, letting things the change the way they actually would in actual life, well, in this very-thoughtful simulation of life, a girl’s young life. But I must say—I don’t like Dunham’s writing much. It isn’t accomplished. It's very young/self-conscious, which is fine, but I expected more out of someone so gifted at screenwriting and directing. I was also surprised when I read an interview. She is unlike my students, but also like them. Odd language construction--she kept saying “wherein we” and “in which.” I’ve had some students who are hung up on “in which,” but in a tragic way. They think that when you use “which” in writing, you have to always use “in which,” even if the sentence doesn’t make any sense at all with that construction.

Dale and I watched the best thing last night--Forbidden Planet. Absolutely fabulous. I had never seen it, but it was one of Dale’s favorites. So, so good.

I just have to get through the next two weeks. Then, then, then—all good things.



    Rebecca Cook

    I write poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Here I write about thinking, writing, publishing, reading, working, living, and just about everything else. I welcome your comments and questions.


    July 2014
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