March 7 Sunday 2010
I am a week into the new poem month and I have read it once. It is easy. I picked an easy uncomplicated poem as I thought I’d learn it before heading off for my press trip to India, but that trip has been postponed until mid-April so now I have an easy March poem, but one I have yet to parse.
I read it first on March 2, Tuesday as I waited for my gang to arrive at the Metropolitan opera to see a dress rehearsal of the The Nose. Let’s take a break here. As I write, I think, every reader, well should think this
“What a bitch! She goes to free opera, has friends as house guests, who adore her, is about to go on a free trip to India as a member of the press and the source of her deep dismal sadness is what?”
I can’t succinctly tell you the sadness source, but in the front of my brain the disappointment and anger emanate from a place where I believe I should be doing better than I am. I am woefully underemployed, really a euphemism for no employment. I am without health insurance, and have no plan for retirement or old age, unless you count the stash of prescription drugs I hoard after every dental appointment to be an appropriate response to old age? If you do then Hell Yeah I have a plan.
I have debt; I have debt at about 20% of what I am worth. OK not the worse ration of anyone I know, but enough to make me nervous. I have been told clearly by multiple bankers that I or we, can no longer get financing on anything we own. And we have owned it for quite a while, but because we are consultants, and hence have no employer, save ourselves, the fact that we have paid for years, lo decades on a property, put kids through college and paid credit cards on time and handsomely MEANS NOTHING. So I am stuck with the mortgage rate we have and the line of credit and can’t consolidate anymore. It both makes me mad and contributes to my feeling of desperation.
My houseguest, who I adore, lives in Milwaukee with her husband, a Bush II minted Republican, who works as a plumber. They have health insurance; they can refinance their home. They never went to college. We did and we have no health insurance and no prospects of getting it. So yes I am angry. I even think I maybe shouldn’t see people anymore. I have become a curmudgeon and a negative Nancy.
I need to be hidden away with trees or cats or birds or things that will not hear my caterwauling. So yes it has been a week and I haven’t learned the damn poem and I do not walk and I can’t make myself start. Something is very wrong and I don’t know how to make a change. I am waiting for a magical kick-start and as we all well know there is no magic but self.
OK perhaps spring has a tiny dose of magic but I am sitting here typing, writng and contemplating going inside to pottery. What is wrong with me?
Monday March 8 2010
OK I am a natural born believer so when a house guest who is taking a course in Acupuncture intended for addicts to relieve them of their inordinate anxiety asks, “ Anyone want to try the needles to eliminate stress?” I am the first to pipe up in the affirmative. And I make brunch while the sticky little darlings work their wonders. This was on Saturday while I whipped up goat cheese and roasted tomato and caramelized onion omelets. It’s true. I don’t recall much other than the whizzed haze, which began at my punctured ears and descended to my core. Nice though.
But I was much calmer. Maybe it was because I went to pottery. Maybe because I had guests who brought good, really good wine. Or perchance it was the coming of spring weather, the lack of overcoat, mittens and hats. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the acupuncture. But today when I woke up I was not immediately filled with dread. I was filled with a sense of oh well let’s see if this foot can follow this other foot and what a treat that I have t only two of these appendages to shuffle forward.
And so I had coffee and toast with honey and too much butter. I wrote, I called people about work. I didn’t whine and cry, I inquired and made the next call and now I am about to get on my trusty steed, my bicycle and head north to Pilates class with my March poem in my pocket. By Daylight written by Elizabeth Macklin, to me is about being an old bat who discovers herself learns to love “the old bitch, whole as if she were my next door neighbor.” Perfect for me in this time. A dose of self-discovery and acceptance.
March 10 2010 Wednesday
Here is the truth; I have been assiduous about learning the poems. I take them to the loo with me, to the theater, to wait on lines. What I do NOT do is walk. I walk around the block, to the store, maybe. But I still rely on my bike. It is fast and carries everything and I am lazy. Or I am an old dog recalcitrant to learn new tricks.
My feet hurt, they hurt like old things, which are never used. I imagine walking I imagine weight sloughing off me. I imagine all of this as I sit on the couch reading the New Yorker having a cocktail or glass of wine at the end of the day with hummus and bagel chips. Now that gets my juices up. Not the thought of a brisk pace, sweat beading on my aging skin. Not the thought that I can master the art of walking. My daughter sent me a text message, which read: “ One works, of course, equally hard when walking as when actually writing.” by the wonderful Elaine Dundy.
I imagine Dundy is referring to the way thoughts come to us, we writers when we do a freeing task. We think and we revise everywhere. But for me walking doesn’t flip me over to the creative right side of my brain, instead it locks me to the complaining part. Where is that located exactly?
When I ride my bike, or swim or drive the car I am a halo of ideas and connective tissues, all firing and singing to each other across genres and synapses. I see the garden, my finances, my kids lives, the pottery I want to create all as a seamless web of me. But when I walk I am a cement block pulled along by legs too short and a spirit unwilling.