Once More Into the Fray: I Revive the Blog and Once Again Accost the Internet with Nonsense I Can't Just Keep in My Damn Fool Head

After abandoning the blog during the pandemic year, I'm ready -- I think -- to return to it. My year has been no more fraught with ugly change and professional and personal turmoil than anyone else's -- and, as the pandemic has wrought across the world some pretty devastating consequences, from job loss to the loss of loved ones,  my year has probably held a good deal less trauma than many other people's. 

Still, I wasn't in the frame of mind to report on the banality of remote teaching, sheltering in place, homeschooling, grocery delivery, and endless dishwashing. Nor was I quite ready to spill my innards onto the proverbial page about a newly developing chronic illness, or a tired drama that began two years ago with family members and climaxed in the most devastating and humiliating way last December. 

Even writing those last two sentences makes my stomach turn. So that's all I'll say about any of that, for now at least.

In an effort to reclaim something of my former self, I'm embarking on not one, not two, but three writing projects this summer. Well, two of those projects have been "in process" over the past year, but moving at a slug's pace because of the ... remote teaching, sheltering in place, homeschooling, grocery deliv-- you get it --  and so I'm striving to finish them over the next three months. A 90 day plan -- that's what I've come up with. Or really 98 days -- and why yes, I did demarcate the project tasks across the days on a color-coded printable calendar, because I am nothing if not a too-the-tee Virgo and a huge nerd.

The third project is something new and strange to me and also something that I guess I won't speak aloud or write down here just yet -- mostly because I'm superstitious and don't want to jinx it, but also so that I can get some momentum going and avoid making a fool of myself. I will at least say that it's a prose project, not poetry, and so maybe that's what I'll call it for now, Prose Project, and that will help me describe some of the ups and downs in its creation without completely embarrassing myself. 

I mean, who knows? I may abandon the project by next week. But I've used part of this week to plan out its creation across the entire summer, more or less working on it daily. I have no idea if that's conceivably possible -- the kids are in school for only one more month, and I will try to make the most of the few precious hours I have to myself and the time inside my (admittedly) cavernous and disorganized head. Once they are all home for the summer, quiet time will be less available -- but a girl can hope, right? My kidlets are older. after all, and this summer might be a little more *open* socially than last summer.  So we'll see.

A tall stack of books and perfect-bound magazines showing their spines, including The Sarah Book by Scott McLanahan, Maps of Injury by Chera Hammons, Issue 10 of Phantom Drift, The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir, and a biography of Martha Graham by Agnes De Mille.
It's stupidly ambitious, I'll admit.
In addition to those three long-term projects, I have a very large stack of books and literary journals to read. Some will be rereads, for reasons having to do with teaching, and some will be for book reviews that I've been planning to write for the past year but couldn't finish (because of COVID in March 2020 and January 2021, chronic illness, family trauma/dram -- you get it). 

So this is all to say that in the absence of Things to Look Forward To just landing in my lap, I'm trying to create Things to Look Forward To all on my own, and when I write Things to Look Forward To, I mostly mean Things That Will Distract Me from Thinking About the Things I Don't Want to Think About Anymore.

And if you're a writer and reading this, you'll know that's a laughable goal, because if I write anything I'll probably be Writing About Something I Think is Completely Unrelated to Things I Don't Want to Think About Anymore But is Actually a Loose Metaphor or Allegory for Things I Don't Want to Think About Anymore.

I think I'll end this *stunning* reentry into the world of blogging (please note: *exaggerated eyeroll*) with a short list of things I'm reading and listening to right now:

BOOKS

  • Poets at Work: Interviews from The Paris Review, edited by Vijay Seshadri
    • This is such a joy to read. Because I'm nothing if not perpetually nosy. The Pablo Neruda interview, which I just read, is a particular gem. History has not been kind to his political views and reveals some major missteps in his judge of character. (Looking at you, Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh!) And also there's the usual Pablo Neruda that we love and worship who gives out stunning bonmots that somewhat alleviate the shock of his support for genocidal autocrats.
  • Made to Explode by Sandra Beasley
    • This is one of those books that I'm going to review for the New York Journal of Books, which I've recently been invited to join. So I won't say anything here -- I'll save it for the official copy.
  • Stoic Classics Collection: Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, Epictetus's Enchiridion, Seneca's On The Happy Life, translated by George Chrystal, George Long, and Roger L'Estrange
    • I started this during the pandemic and, admittedly, I can only read so much at a time. Those stoics aren't exactly Pollyannas, which is exactly why I picked up the book, in an effort to remind myself about resiliency. From what I can tell, however, resiliency to a stoic means that you should find joy in the fact that you truly own nothing, sometimes not even your own mind, and that we're all going to die and end up eaten by the universe. So... sometimes this is a difficult one to start the day with, especially since early morning is generally when I have time to read the material I want to actually *study*.
  • The Hotel Neversink by Adam O'Fallon Price
    • I heard about this novella on an episode of my new favorite obsession (see below). It's a mystery and I've been reading about a chapter a night. I was interested because it was conceived as a novella-in-short-stories, and so even though I've consigned it to "night reading" I'm kind of studying its structure and how Price is connecting the stories with a mystery through-line.

PODCASTS

  • I'm a Writer, But . . . hosted by Lindsay Hunter and Alex Higley
    • This podcast is funny and informative and conversational and I wish I'd discovered it sooner, but it's bringing me much joy now. I love hearing about each visiting author's challenges, writing practices, obsessions, and influences  (again, because I'm REALLY nosy) but also the visiting author always reads from new work and sometimes the hosts ALSO read from work-in-progress and I find this practice inspiring and freeing and really interesting.

Did I say this list would be short? When have you known me to be brief about ANYTHING??

To wit, I'll leave you here with this image of my perpetually tired dog rolling in your head: (You're welcome!)

He's had *such* a hard day. (It's 10:30 a.m.)

 

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