Setting Small Fires (My Week of Mood Swings, Poem Writing, and Demolition)

This week was a strange one, where I've vacillated between periods of extreme productivity and good humor and lower moments of stasis and frustration. To be honest, it feels a little like mania and depression, which is startling, but I'm going to stop just before the point of self-diagnosis and chalk it up instead to a weird mood swing, or bullshit like the full moon and maybe something fun and ridiculous like Mercury in retrograde. (Is Mercury in retrograde? What does that even mean?)

I have been in hiding from so many of my favorite people for weeks, mostly because I'm afraid of spreading my weird bad mood, which honestly has persisted since this spring and seems to be dissipating but then rears its ugly head again. If you're one of those favorite people, please be patient with me. 

Anyway, let's focus on the positive, shall we? Some of my little wins this week have been poem-related. Something happened Monday morning and I woke up with ideas for poems and they've been coming pretty steadily -- five fully-developed -- but naturally in need of time and reflection and editing -- poems so far this week, which is actually more than double the amount of poems I've written in the past six months.

Something that might be "problematic" is that they aren't poems that are part of the Repeat Pattern project I'm working on with M.S. and neither are they part of the verse play, but such problems are welcome problems. It's nice to write something and afterwards recognize that it's not just a "clearing of the throat" or merely evidence of "showing up" to the page . . . which so much of my morning writing has been these past few months.

In other-wins, I received an email from the Bread Loaf Sicily program this week asking for the manuscript that we'll be using during the week-long workshop in September. While I'm not overly anxious to be in a workshop again, it's a nice reminder that within two months I'll be in Italy, far far away from Long Island and Stuffolk and all its nonsense, and part of a small literary community for a few brief days (something I am looking forward to doing again). 

Our tiny terrible bathroom.
Also, in a fit of energy and industriousness, I removed almost all the sheet rock in the bathroom this week. Win. Also also, I almost started a small electrical fire when sheet rock fragments fell on a gnarled nest of decades-old wiring. Yay tripped circuits! Not. A. Win. (But, thankfully, the house is still standing.)

I've begun reading Her Body and Other Parties, one story at a time, and it's just as strange and creepy and beautiful as I'd believed it would be after hearing Carmen Maria Machado at AWP. Also, I'm reading poems from The Halo by C. Dale Young, and it's an unexpectedly complementary companion to Her Body. The poems focus on a near-fatal accident in the speaker's early life and takes a kind of fantastic/metaphoric turn, focusing on the physical and how it reveals and represents what's happening emotionally, spiritually, psychologically to the speaker. The poems are beautifully structured with uniform 5-line stanzas and the same careful precision with language, but the insights they deliver makes them distinct from one another. 

So. This morning I took the pup to the vet for his annual vaccinations and this afternoon I'm trekking to the beach with the kids. Next week all three of them are participating in camps at a local college from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, and I intend to use the kid-free time to try another self-granted mini-sabbatical in which I work on my long-form projects, like my plays. So I'm going to indulge in family time this weekend and just try to be more relaxed, less crazypants.

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