This new essay is a bit different for me, actually a lot different. Though much of the language is lyrical and there is no doubt that the piece is mine, the essay as a whole is more accessible than a lot of my pieces, which frankly, do not appeal to readers who don't get drunk on language, for readers who want a little more than a wash over a wave of feeling and sensation and sound.
Another departure for me is the approach. I almost never tell the truth head-on. I almost never spell it out and just lay it on the page. I do this in fiction but I am first and foremost and always a poet. I speak in metaphor in rhythms in images in sounds in tastes in sneaky rhymes and subtle pockets of emotion. Writing this way is to write with the mask on. Which is not to say that one is not completely painfully exposed spread open picked bone clean. But the writing itself is not for everyone.
With the new essay I tell the story, my story, as head-on as I can. It is the story of my illness and it is impossible to tell the truth. Because when you’re bipolar you can’t remember the truth. You do not know where you end and the disease begins. Or where the disease began and you began. Which of you came first. You cannot place yourself at any one point in your own history in the jumbled mismatched cross-eyed circuits of this disease. So I express this swirl and whirl and confusion but I also tell scenes that read straight up neat.
In my Thursday workshop at church I am having fun, I reconnecting to myself, I am doing what I was meant to do. I am teaching and I am ministering and encouraging and being inspired. And thinking. Dealing with Biblical language that makes me squirm but also brings me delight. Exploring the divine my divine my innermost God of Gods. And sharing that with the group. As they share with me. We’ve only met three times but the connections between us are greening. I can look and see the vines growing into around and through us. We are a stand of trees. Aspens. What happens is special and I am honored, humbled to be a part of it. I want it to go on forever and ever.
I peeked into the working mock collection of God poems last night. The group is really much further along than I had thought. These are powerful important poems. And I am ready to push forward. I want to work today. Edit the poems, polish them. And pull out the snippets and beginnings and starts of poems I haven’t completed and look at them and see which ones I want to finish. I have said that this book would be my next project. And so it seems to be.
And there are so many other things at work. I read Lauren Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath which inspires and delights. I have one more story in the Gatskill collection. I love the stories but reading them is its own kind of exhaustion. I started reading a book by a fellow bipolar which seems to be a collection of blog entries, something I have considered doing many times. Dale will be playing D & D all day so I am free to concentrate on whatever I want. I want to get into the water. I may have lunch with a friend. And I will write.