I am reading Karen Jamison's An Unquiet Mind. I just finished reading Lauren Winner's Mudhouse Sabbath. As always, it's memoir that draws me in. It's memoir that lights me up. I have not yet finished the Gatskill, though I will. But it's exhausting to read. Or something. Not entirely sure.
Have written some new things, a very strong poem that will go into the God collection. Dale certainly had a strong reaction to it. He thinks it is awful terrible dark and seemed to think it inexcusable. We kept talking and squawking and I finally said, It's just a poem, and he said, he actually said, Hitler was just a man. So for good or ill, this is a powerful poem that stirs and stirs, which is what a good poem must do. I think it's one of the best things I ever written.
It's NEA time again. I screwed up last year. Somehow, in spite of my diligence, I left my name on one of the poems in my manuscript which disqualified me. But I am NOT going to to that this year. This year is prose and I am submitting essays. It's a 25 page shot. I think that a spattering of essays is better then an except from the novel. I hope to do some of this work today.
I am working with my translator on a book of poems. It's very good for me. It distracts and absorbs me and directs me away from my own work. I have learned, am teaching myself, to not mire up too much in my work as it can drive me into mania quite easily. I am also working to quell the I JUST WROTE THIS and MUST READ IT TO SOMEONE STRAIGHT AWAY! Reading the work to others also feeds the mania, I think. It feeds the idea that I am the bestest most brilliant writer in the history of the world. I don't think feeling that way is a bad thing. I think all writers need confidence and ego. But to stay inside that intoxicating bubble also feeds the mania and the mania is exhausting.
I am learning to press down my hand on the lid of the boiling pot. Which is me. The way I move through my life. I am learning to control myself. But I don't like the word control. The useful word that came out of therapy yesterday was "boundary." It had never occurred to me that there is a boundary between me and the sky and the mailbox the miserable plastic bag flapping in the naked tree the faces on the carpet the apple fritter. Or you. Or my own manic writing self. There is a shell. It is full of holes and the light gets in. And that is wonderful. But too much light burns and finally wounds and finally drops me down into the lonely black boot.
Am pulling the collection of lyric essays and the God poems together at the same time. Which is not the best idea. But it is what I am doing. There is a new press that I peeked at. I am interested in them.
So on to a good day. I'm going to go swim. And be glad in the doing of it. Old Sol is out. God laughs with us.