Monday, August 01, 2005

How it happens

So funny how poems happen in the brain, like little electrical misfirings (but productive ones). Today I was standing in line at the circ desk of the main library, with a pile of poetry books in my arms (I'd gone up to the tenth floor -- where the poetry lives -- with one call number on a piece of paper, but of COURSE I kept plucking books from shelves like ripe fruit that had to be picked RIGHT NOW -- like I need to bring more books into this house, sheesh). I was gazing aimlessly at a book truck stacked high with returned books behind the desk, and my eye landed on one that had the word "DECISION" prominently in the title on the spine. Only, with my middle-aged vision, I thought it said "INCISION" and I thought, yeah! that's a word I should use in a poem someday, with its connotations of precision and of deliberate injury with healing intent. Then I remembered the poem I revised yesterday, the last stanza of which has the image of carving a name into a gravestone, and all of a sudden I realized that the name needed to be incised, not carved. And just coming up with that one little word made me irrationally happy, delighted, buoyant -- so I didn't mind when my stop by the post office to check my P.O. Box yielded only an advertising flyer and a rejection slip.

(I'm actually glad to get the rejection slip, as I've got a LOT of poems out right now, many of which have been out for months and months -- the ones that came back today went out in March, and at least one of them -- I'll have to check -- has been considerably revised since then. So now I can send 'em back out. I swear, it's like I on-purpose picked the places that would be slowest to respond this time around!)

P.S. How on earth did it get to be August already?? Man.

P.S.2. Whoever thought up the horribly annoying new Target commercial -- the one that starts off "I like backpacks and I cannot lie" -- needs to be FIRED. That commercial bugs the crap out of me.

P.S.3. Interlibrary loan rocks my little bitty world. Seriously. If it's in WorldCat, which compiles the holdings of hundreds of libraries and contains over 33 million records, I can probably get it delivered to me within a few days just by clicking on a couple of clicky things. I've gotten my hands on all kinds of obscure little chapbooks and random small-press stuff. It is, as they say, a beautiful thing.

6 comments:

Pamela said...

I think I will write a story with that "I like backpacks and I cannot lie" character as the villain. I hate that commercial, too.

Erin B. said...

Ladies, gentlemen, hippies, gypsies, and queers . . . Inter-Library Loan.

Thank you.

Patty said...

ILL is brilliant! A true book dork question: what was the last book you got on ILL? For me it was Lynda Hull's Star Ledger. All of Hull's books have been stolen from VCU's library.

Pamela said...

Henry James--The Spoils of Poynton. I don't think Mr. James was quite as popular with the lightfingered library lurkers as Lynda Hull. I think that Lynda Hull was wonderful. I had the privilege of a one-class workshop with her and a private conference, and it's something I will never forget.

One of the few book-borrowings I find hard to forgive is that of my autographed copy of Ghost Money, because that is truly irreplaceable.

jenni said...

that happens to me sometimes too 9the wrd thing) unfortunately it seems to always happen while im falling asleep and i talk myself into 'remembering' it in the morning.

i never do...

Anne said...

LOL, Erin! For that you get dubbed the Official ILL Cheerleader. You can pick up your pom-poms in the office.

Patty & Pamela - we've got Lynda Hull's MFA thesis in our library system, since she got the degree here at IU, and I've read it. I'm not sure how much she revised it before it was published as a book (Star Ledger was already the title) -- I should get them both and compare them.

Last book I got via ILL: Aimee Nezhukumatathil's chapbook Fishbone (Snail's Pace Press). Only about 25 libraries own this -- the copy I have came from Notre Dame.