Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poetry & mystery & a bit about Twitter

For a few months now I've been on hiatus from the poetry group I belong to. When I first stepped out, I wasn't writing much at all; now I'm writing again, though a bit slowly - weekends mostly, usually drafting one or two poem(-ish thing)s. I haven't been going back to revise much, and the poems feel a little different to me. Anyway, I've realized that, right now, I just want to trust the poems to do their own thing; I don't want to go back to the group for critique just yet. I don't want to interrogate the poems yet. I don't want someone trying to make sense of them - it feels like "sense" isn't the point of these particular poems, at least not yet. It's a new place for me to be, although in a way it's a lot like where I was with poems back when I first started writing, in my teens.

That whole paragraph was more than a little self-indulgent, but that's how it goes sometimes.

The new poems seem to be about memory. I say "seem to be" but since one of them is titled "What Memory Is" I guess it's a little more than "seem" huh? It feels like the very beginning stages of a new project(-ish thing). There's the first manuscript, Land Mammal, which has been making the rounds as they say and will probably get revised some more between now and whenever; there's the second one, Chasing Angels, which I seem to have stepped away from for a while but which I'd like to go back to over the summer and pound it into some kind of readable shape; and now there is this new thing. Which may or may not actually be a thing. I'd like to get one of the first two manuscripts accepted somewhere before I push too far on the new thing, just because I can only juggle so many balls at one time... well, we'll see.

Memory seems like an appropriate thing for me to be thinking about and writing about these days. I've lived in this town for almost thirty-one years now, and there are a lot of ghosts here. I'm comfortable with most of them but they are still, you know, ghosts. And on Friday I begin the one-year countdown to my fiftieth birthday - which seems crazy to me.

* * * * *

Don't even know what to say about the awfulness in the Gulf. It's as if someone decided we weren't turning the ocean into toxic sludge quite fast enough, and figured we should speed up the process. And I know it's not going to help at all (especially since my little Corolla only eats about five gallons of gas a week), and I know none of the oil companies are particularly ethical or worthy of support, but I can't bring myself to buy gas from BP now, even though it's the most convenient place for me.

* * * * *

While I'm busy letting the new poems just sit there and be mysterious, I've been reasonably industrious about sending out the old ones. I'm pleased to note that Rattle took one for their winter issue. I suppose it's self-indulgent to announce acceptances here on this blog, but isn't that what the Internet is for anyway? Well, that and cute kitten pictures.

* * * * *

Really enjoying Twitter lately. It doesn't replace the extended musings of a blog, or the conversation of real life. It's more kinda like sitting in a room with a bunch of people, all puttering around or reading or watching tv or listening to music or whatever, and occasionally piping up with an observation, which maybe makes a couple of people say "Hmmm, interesting" or tell you about the time that same thing happened to them. And then someone will read you something interesting that they stumbled across, and maybe that will make you go look up something to find out a little more about that something. It's a low-key, ongoing multiple connectedness that appeals to me. Plus, you occasionally get to exchange remarks with people you'd probably never have the chance to chat with in real life, like the great writer Margaret Atwood, journalist Luke Russert, or terrific writer/musician Rosanne Cash (who has a memoir coming out soonish, and I can't wait to read it). I've gotten a tremendous amount of professional information from the librarians I follow, and I know that if there's any news from the Springsteen world someone will tweet about it. For someone like me who practically has a phobia about "what if something interesting happens in the world and I don't know about it??" (yeah, why do you think I went to library school anyway?) - it's pretty great. Twitter isn't everybody's cup of tea, and that's fine; I'm following as many people as I can manage right now anyway and I don't need more! But it has taken me by surprise to realize it's become an important resource for me, both personally and professionally.


Kay McKenzie Cooke said...

Just popped over from Twitter by following your link there to this blog. Great reading! Thanks! (I was just thinking ... "Oh I dunno about this Twitter thing ..." But you have made me think again).

Deb said...

Twitter reminds me of a particular Starbucks (I know, I know) I used to work out of, where all the regulars were writers, consultants, grad students. You'd spend so many hours in a day plugging away there, and for distraction, folks would just jump into each others' conversations at any given moment. You'd have some quick interaction - learn a random tidbit, get a book or CD suggestion, hear a bizarre anecdote - when you needed the break, then get back to work. Or someone would say "what's another word for..." and everyone in the place would leap to offer suggestions. Coolness.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Woo Hoo on the Rattle acceptance. Such a great journal. I'm glad you announced it here. It's good to be able to celebrate with you.

Anne said...

Kay: Thanks! Nice to see you here.

Deb: Yes!! You nailed it exactly. I suppose it's no coincidence that I often think about how much I'd love to have exactly that kind of space in real life. That really is what Twitter is like for me - and while I can't really claim I've gotten to know anyone well solely via Twitter, people do become familiar, become each other's "regulars."

Sandy: Thanks! I had a poem in Rattle a few years back, so it's nice to look forward to another.

Jessie Carty said...

bIg congrats on Rattle that is one of my favorites! I got ink from this year so I'll keep trying :) It is hard to move on to too many projects when you have others pending. I was in that same boat but I can't seem to stop writing..,,

Anonymous said...

Anne, again, congrats on the Rattle acceptance.

And it's not self-indulgent to announce an acceptance. It's only self-indulgent to go on and on about it.

At least that's what I hope. :)

--Jim Valvis

Collin Kelley said...

Congrats on Rattle!

Love that you've embraced Twitter!