Just in the past few days, the oppressive heat and humidity of an Indiana summer has shifted into the cool weather and sometimes amazingly blue skies of fall. Big sigh of relief, here. Many trees are starting to lose their leaves early due to the intense drought, so already I look outside and see little brown leaves spiraling downward. I dislike the winter that it leads up to, but I really do love fall.
Today I'm taking the day off. I was to the point of actually losing my sense of humor on occasion -- which, if you know me, you know doesn't happen very often (hello, class clown here). Stress both at work & outside of work had just built up to an unpleasant point. I'd thought I would make today a highly productive day, get some chapbook-related stuff done that needs to be done asap, send out some poems, clean house, et cetera ... but instead all I've done so far today has been to take a shower and then a long nap with a large sleepy cat snuggled up in my arms. (I couldn't HELP it. The cat made me take that nap.) Tomorrow, I'll get up at a reasonable hour and go out for brunch with Too Much Coffee and get a lot of work done. Swear it.
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This past Sunday evening I drove up to Indianapolis for a reading by Roger Mitchell at the Writers' Center. I'd never been to the Writers' Center before, oddly enough; thanks to Mapquest I was able to find it with no problem. It was a little over a ninety-minute drive each way, which is why I haven't been there, I guess. I do want to go back for the occasional event, though I'm sure I'd be more inclined to do stuff like that if I had a car I trusted a little more.
Anyway, the reading was quite good, and I'm pleased to find out that Roger Mitchell has a big new & selected coming out from Ausable Press in the not-too-distant future. I went alone and didn't know too many people there, though there were a number of familiar faces and, as I found out when I chatted with people, several familiar names -- Shari Wagner, for example, whose work I came across when I went to the Indiana Arts Commission literature panel last spring (they had the grant applications in a big binder for anyone in the audience to peruse, and the poetry she included with her grant application was quite wonderful; and yes, she did get a grant). I also reconnected with someone I knew waaaaaay back in my undergrad years; she was a year or two ahead of me at IU, and we had at least one creative writing class and maybe another class or two together, and ran in similar circles. I'd known she was teaching up at IUPUI (that's the Indianapolis campus of IU), so was not too surprised to see her there.
I signed up for the open mic, of course, and was dismayed to see that there was a LONG list of signer-uppers by the time the reading started. We were asked to keep it to one minute, and to my surprise, pretty much everyone did their best to comply. (You know how an open mic can be ... someone thinks their four-page epic comes in at one minute, plus they ramble on and on with an extended intro.) And overall, there were some pretty good poems read. Definitely a higher-quality open mic than some I've been to.
They seem to have a nice little community going on up there at the Writers' Center. I don't know how often I'll be able to take part in it, due to distance -- but it's nice to know it's there. And they have a nice little facility, too! There's a small sort of arts complex there, which the Writers' Center is a part of; it's near the Indianapolis community of Broadripple, which is sort of the "funky shops, clubs with live music, art galleries, and interesting restaurants" neighborhood in Indy.
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So, no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm still behind on everything -- but am starting to feel a tiny bit more sane. Hooray for the occasional mental health day, especially when it involves napping with cats. And hooray for the season starting to turn, finally.