Post-Hurricane Sandy Clean Up and the Return of the Verse Play

We survived Hurricane Sandy without much incident or damage -- a few big limbs fell, our fences need to be mended, but fortunately we didn't sustain any direct damage to the house this time around. Sadly, most of Long Island did not. There were something like 100, 000 homes destroyed on Long Island alone.

Our household was without power for a few days, but we were fairly well off because of A.'s forward thinking. After Hurricane Irene (or maybe just before? My memory's shot) my industrious husband purchased a generator. So when the storm hit, and the power went out at about 6 p.m. on Monday, we were able to hook it up to the house and have electricity every three hours or so. 

Cable and the internet didn't come back on for some time, and while I would have preferred different circumstances being responsible for "taking [me] off the grid" it was kind of nice to be silent and unplugged for a while. 

Well, not exactly silent. Two kids trapped in a house without their electronic distractions are fairly noisy, and they fought a lot, but once they were able to play outside in the wind and, oddly, sunshine that followed Sandy, the household was rather peaceful. 

Because of the hurricane damage, all three campuses of Stuffolk have been closed this week, so I've managed to catch up with a lot of the laundry that was backlogged in our basement, and some basic household cleaning that needed attention. The Girl went back to school yesterday, and The Boy and I have been folding shirts and vacuuming and doing dishes in her absence. (His daycare still doesn't have power, but I wouldn't drive the 20 miles there even if they did -- I'm not leaving home if I don't have to. There are still a lot of live wires down all over this island, and apparently looting and fighting has now broken out in the most affected areas. We're pretty far from those areas, but all the same, I'd rather be a homebody than a risk taker.) This weekend, if the weather cooperates, I'll attack the fallen tree limbs and wide pool of leaves that are cluttering the flowerbeds and most of the front yard.

Of course, being with my kids 24-7 and missing consistent electricity for three days wasn't very conducive to all of the grading I need to catch up on, but I'm not complaining. I think I might be able to catch up on some today while The Boy naps. Currently he's preoccupied with a Spiderman Comic Book coloring project, so I thought I'd use the opportunity to write on this neglected-of-late blog.

Last night, after the kids were in bed and while I waited for A. to come home from storm recovery work (he works directly for the utility now), I did some real writing -- poetry writing -- for the first time in ages. Yesterday morning I was trolling the interwebs while I had my coffee (my one daily cup, now that I'm preggers), and on her Poet Mom blog January O'Neil wrote about how she was going to attempt Robert Brewer's November Poem-a-Day Chapbook challenge this year. I participated in a similar April challenge a couple of years ago, and while the prompts and rigor of daily writing didn't generate a lot of work that I considered lasting or even very good, it was a good way to jump start my writing after a long, long hiatus (otherwise known as writer's block). It was shortly after that challenge, I believe -- again, my memory is crap, but I think this is the way it happened -- that I began to write the first of the poems for Fabulous Beast. So I consider the venture successful, even if it didn't directly result in "useable" work.

Of late, I haven't felt like I've suffered from writer's block, or that I'm dried up creatively (which I definitely felt a few short years ago). Rather, I've simply felt preoccupied with other things -- namely, my obligations to teaching and committee work at school. I'm realizing that my most productive writing periods are only going to be accomplished in between semesters or during sabbaticals -- and I have to wait another seven years for one of those! Still, I'll keep up my practice of writing in the mornings -- and participating in this Poem-a-Day challenge might be a way to get back in the game. 

I'm not going to try to create a chapbook of poems, though. Instead, I'm going to use the daily challenges or prompts to write parts -- however short or long -- of my verse play. That was the project I intended to complete last year, and I'm glad I focused on finishing the Fabulous Beast manuscript instead -- but it's about time I get to this play (after talking and talking and talking about it for four years!). 

So yesterday I began a monologue. My hope is that each monologue in the play (or some of them, at least) will work independently, individually, as persona poems. This month, then, I hope to write a number of monologues/persona poems that may or may not be used in the play. I won't write 30 of them -- I know that once school is back in session I'll have to concentrate on those responsibilities, especially so close to the end of the semester -- but if I can get even a few pages of usable material out of this month, this challenge, I'll consider it incredibly successful.

Well! That was a lengthy post. It's amazing how different my children are -- I never would have been able to write at such length if The Girlie was coloring beside me. I love her energy, but her attention span is not half as long as The Boy's.

I hope that any and all East-Coast readers -- if anyone other than my family and friends reads this thing -- survived the storm relatively unscathed, too, and that you and your loved ones are safe and happy.

p.s. Check out this Tony Hoagland poem about November (posted on O'Neil's blog). I'm not overly familiar with Hoagloand's work -- I don't think he appealed to me much the last time I read him -- but I like this piece.


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