The eye of the storm / The “I” in a storm

¡Felíz Navidad!

This is why our tree looks all jacked up...

I’m halfway through a delightful 2-week break. Christmas was a relief just because it marked the end of Christmas shopping, but also was nice in other ways. My car battery, after a few weeks of spazzing out, completely died – but despite that I was able to borrow a car and schlep around to various family Christmases.

I also bought myself a new Macbook with the insurance money from the stolen laptop (plus some…) which is pretty snazzy.

So, crappy cars and nice computers… that’s one step up, I suppose.

Last week I read at a poetry reading along with some other local poets. This is the second poetry reading of its kind, and it’s nice to hear local poets’ work – most of whom I am friends with. I hadn’t aired out any of my own writing in public for years, and in the past I always tended to go out of town or at least outside of my circle of friends to read anything. (Don’t shit where you eat? Or whatever the saying is. Assuming the poetry is shit, that is.)

Anyway, despite a lot of anxiety on my part, I read quite a few poems and got a lot of really positive feedback afterwards, which is making me want to do more with writing.

Chelsita linked to a website that is pretty much someone’s personal anthology of poetry, many of which I really enjoyed. After getting home from my parents’ house last night I sat in bed and read poetry and got emotional and had a good time. I need to do that more often.

A friend also told me about Open Yale Courses, which is exciting both conceptually and concretely. You know, for all that free time I have. But I might download some lectures to listen to in the car, since I spend at least 2 hours a day driving, and I might as well do something with that.

On the other hand… why do I need to cram things into every moment of free time?

I bring books to the gym, listen to music in the car, watch TV series online from my bed. Knit at the bar. Go out to the movies with people. Write graduate papers during prep times in between teaching. Eat meals while driving, or reading.

It’s no wonder that when I get some days off, I can’t drag myself out of bed until late, and I feel vaguely anxious at being so lazy.

Our Friday night group has been talking about the traditions of prayer we all came from, and daily prayer. I think it’s important to open up small spaces in the middle of things. This is one of the things I need to do: make those things part of my routine, because unless I routinize something, it just drowns.

A New Lifestyle – James Tate

People in this town drink too much
coffee. They’re jumpy all the time. You
see them drinking out of their big plastic

mugs while they’re driving. They cut in
front of you, they steal your parking places.
Teenagers in the cemeteries knocking over
tombstones are slurping café au lait.
Recycling men hanging onto their trucks are

sipping espresso. Dogcatchers running down
the street with their nets are savoring
their cups of mocha java. The holdup man
entering a convenience store first pours
himself a nice warm cup of coffee. Down
the funeral parlor driveway a boy on a
skateboard is spilling his. They’re so
serious about their coffee, it’s all they
can think about, nothing else matters.
Everyone’s wide awake but looks incredibly
tired.

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2 Responses to The eye of the storm / The “I” in a storm

  1. chelsea says:

    i know what you mean. learning how to sit still and spend the night not doing much (though i’m still attached to the computer, so its obviously not something i’ve remotely mastered) has definitely been a recent development. its strange.

    also, my roommates’ cat is molesting my laptop right now. i think he wants you. 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    There was a time in my life when I was so amazingly productive it scared me, so I stopped. I was using the Get Things Done system by David Allen. (He has a cult following in the blogosphere.)

    One of the things I took from it was writing everything down and tagging it, like @RED, @HOME, @STORE, so when you’re there you can do all the things you need to and forget nothing.

    Also, breaking projects down into steps and having a ‘next action’ list. I am in love with lists and excuses to use my pens, so it worked for me. Maybe I’ll try to be productive again, and this time not be so scared.

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