Friday, July 30, 2021

Almost August

It's almost August, and I'm still behind in all things poetry-related but so enjoying each day, each moment of life in summer. Today, I did post a review of What Happens is Neither, by Angela Narciso Torres, at Escape Into Life, and another review is coming soon, August 4, of Dialogues with Rising Tides, by Kelli Russell Agodon. Indeed, my fond (meaning both affectionate and foolish) hope is again to attempt the Sealey Challenge, reading a poetry book a day in August, and posting about it here. My friend Kim enjoyed that last year, as did several of the poets who found themselves here, and I love the whole idea of the challenge. But can I do it this year? 

Today, pursuant to the challenge, I did read a chapbook in advance, as I will be otherwise occupied on August 1 (volleyball, friends). Still, I may post in the middle of the night.

I'm swimming again, which is meditative, a wonderful body-mind blend. I continue to be busy with many details. I think I have a weensy bit of what they are calling "re-entry anxiety," though I feel calm most of the time, and not at all troubled by wearing a mask into all businesses, even if others aren't, but my particular county is a current hotspot and masks are being required again, not just recommended, so maybe we'll see more...masks...or rude resistance, alas. The schools will be requiring masks, a relief!

Also this weekend, I'll be seeing a new play, in a theatre, in a big city, socially distanced, in a mask when I walk in. I'll be eating in restaurants--ack!--again, masked when I walk in, unmasked when I eat and drink. So far, I've only done that outside or via takeout.

To calm myself in preparation for all this, I am reading and writing in the sun and breeze, doing small household chores, packing in stages. To stay calm in a general way, I have been attentive to each moment, and also oddly color-coordinated. That is, I stack my recently-read books on the stairs in color-coordinated stacks. These stacks can be moved to some bookshelves-in-waiting when winter comes, and the stairs get stacked with small bins of hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves. As I pick each book now, I choose a bookmark to match, mainly via color or design but sometimes also via content. A book with a woman's face on the cover may get my Edna St. Vincent Millay bookmark from the American Writers Museum in Chicago. Right now I'm reading The Writer's Library, by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager, about books that various authors love, pulled from the "Yellow...Is It Me You're Looking For?" display at the library, and the bookmark I chose for this says, "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." --Jorge Luis Borges. I do like that idea of a heaven. And I hope to hold body & mind the meantime. By swimming. A heaven in body-mind.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Off the Grid

I was off the grid for a week in early June for a family gathering in Michigan, and now it's nearly mid-July, and I've been "off the grid" in all kinds of ways before and since. My last post, in early April, was mostly about March, and time still feels suspended. I wrote a poem a day in April, as planned & hoped, and I have continued to read books of poetry but am way behind in my reviewing,* as that takes concentration, re-reading, and a clear mind. I'm also reading fiction, nonfiction, essays, comics, and letters as a kind of escape as well as a way to focus. I'm walking to work. I'm swimming laps again, as this year the pool opened! I feel good but weird.

I guess I'm surprised that coming out of Covid isolation was somehow harder than being in. But why?** I'm not scared, just wary. I worked from home till June 1, 2020, and have worked masked at the workplace ever since. I'm vaccinated and go unmasked with other vaccinated people, friends and family I trust. I still wear a mask to the grocery store, though many customers, cashiers, and other employees don't. Cases (and deaths) went way down where I live but are on the uptick again. I accompany my parents to medical appointments, where people all wear masks in healthcare settings. I was part of a masked theatre audience and will be again. But I walk to work unmasked, and it is so nice to see people's faces again.

My poetry life continues in slow motion, and sometimes I forget about it. I have publications forthcoming, but I have to look at my lists to recall them. I make notes about poems to write, and wrote one for a particular contest & deadline to spur myself on. I write poems in my head as I walk but fail to write them down. I haven't pulled my chalkboard back up from the basement to write small daily poems for social media and people at my porch in real life. Forgive me.

* I did review a chapbook by Keith Taylor, but chapbooks are short!

**Probably because I am shy and an introvert. Staying inside wasn't a problem for me.