After asking about breaks last week, I did myself a great kindness by taking one for 6 days.
Last week, which was also my first week back at work, I woke up at 7 every morning with the intention of writing or reading for a whole hour. When I wasn’t able to write when I wanted to, I was mad at myself and bitter most of the rest of the day. I was really setting high expectations on myself and not being too nice about it.
This week, I slept in. I didn’t write anything beyond school-related things (“This is your homework…”). I focused on my job. My husband and I put an offer on a house and after the seller counteroffered and then we counteroffered their counteroffer, we finally having a binding agreement saying an absolutely lovely home with its own detached studio (can you say writer’s studio???) will be officially ours in October (barring any awfulness at inspection, etc.). This week, I remembered why I used to always have a writing day: at the start of every week, I’d think, “I’m going to write on ___day” and look forward to it the whole week. Looking at my schedule this semester, my only time at home that I could write would be Friday mornings, so Friday mornings it will be. I also changed my availability to make sure Fridays could happen.
The only thing that bugged me about this break was the interference of REJECTIONS! I set up an e-mail a while ago specifically for writing and this blog, while using another e-mail for everything else. I gave my writing e-mail to my realtor, though, since it’s my full name@gmail and a little easier to remember. So, this week, when I was obsessively checking my e-mail to see if we’d gotten contracts to sign, heard from the seller, etc., I was also quick to find out when I got a rejection, which would bring me crashing into the writing world and irritate the bejeezus out of me.
I know some poets/writers who have a special e-mail account for their writing that they only check at a certain time every week. That way, they can be in the right headspace to get rejections (if they’re there) or be totally elated about acceptances. This week, I seriously considered setting up my own special e-mail account or only checking my writing e-mail once a week, because I was not prepared for the rejections I received. When I was searching for good news (“The seller accepted our offer!”), I wasn’t happy to find, instead, baddd news, (though, of course, there are different tiers of “bad,” since I got 1 personalized, 1 encouraging, and 1 form rejection this week). I was grateful for the personalized one, but it was one of those ones stating, “Your poems made it to our final cut, but unfortunately none of them matched what we needed at the moment.” Ugh. Who likes to hear their poem was a first runner-up? No one, but that’s the business we’re in, right?
This week, after a lot of stress and anxiety, coming to my desk (which is currently my kitchen table) was a breath of fresh air.
I’ve been reading Brave New World for one of the classes I’m teaching, and I was struck by the phrase “blood heat” in the first chapter (where there’s all that talk of freezing ova and male gametes). I knew I needed to use it.
“Lookout point, where your fury
dumbed to a heartbeat, in the car,
where our blood heat fogged the windows.”
Another Zeus poem, this one. 14 lines, a semi-sonnet. This one came out so easily. Once I had the first three lines, I thought, “What if Zeus was in a sick abusive relationship with a lover?” She imagines him killing her and how that would be him showing her he “loved [her] that much.” She also muses how lightning might taste (again, an image for him). The title is merely a placeholder for now. Titles are always so hard for me to come up with on the fly.
Huzzah! A poem! That wasn’t all that painful to write! Thank God for mini-breaks! Happy writing to you all!