It is Monday. Garfield is somewhere bemoaning this fact on cubicle posters and chipped mugs. I am back in New Mexico, in my own charming
office cubicle next to a pile of old maps, adjusting to regular life after a week and a half on Poetry Mountain in Vermont. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google “Poetry Mountain in Vermont” then drive to where that is and let me know what you see because I have made this name up and this would be pretty entertaining.
One thing about my experience on Poetry Mountain was that after a freak accident resulting in my giving a pretty decent reading to a roomful of profoundly talented people, I got used to people saying nice things to me. I teach community college, so I’m more used to folks yelling at me in unpunctuated sentences over email. Being in an environment where peers both understood and appreciate (and even love) my project and voice and work is wholly unfamiliar, but it did not take me long to get drunk on adoration. Also on vodka tonics. Poetry Mountain’s waters are fermented.
And while this has filled my heart and renewed my dedication to what I’m doing, coming back has felt less like a slow emerging from a tranquil sea and more like being born but remembering it–everything’s cold and bright and people are in my face and, yes, maybe someone is cleaning some goo off of me. I may have returned from Poetry Mountain covered in last night’s wine. Who can say? (Shut up, those who can say.)
Maybe this sounds like someone coming back from Cote d’Celinedion, a French beach I have just made up, where they have used summer as a verb and made love to a Serbian stranger for 7 1/2 weeks, the salt of the sea lapping at their skin and serving as a potent de-wrinklizer, only to complain about how different things are here. I went to the fountain in the hall and was SO surprised when only water came out! I had entirely forgotten how the States don’t have champagne in their fountain d’revitilizement. How quaint!
What I want to do is understand how to integrate the energy and attitude I cultivated there into my life here. So far, I have not done well. The sheer act of driving onto the campus where I am indentured filled me with anxiety. Two separate dudes in two separate trucks revved at me and licked their chops while I listened to NPR in my mom car. I tried to tell Someone about Poetry Mountain and Someone went Wow. So when do you start real work?
My life is not hard. My life is also not-not hard. I want to acknowledge the latter but focus on the former.
One thing I’m going to do is tone my arms. I’m afraid of growing wings.
Also I think I will talk about poetry to some pen-pals, some of whom don’t know that’s what they’re going to be.
I want to wear underwear that matches my bras. No one will see this, but I will be a person in the world with a secret knowledge of how together I am.
Lastly, I’ll read more: poetry and essays on poetry and some nonfiction and fewer recaps of television shows, which will be hard as I really like to get mad at people who write recaps of television shows, and I’d thought been using this anger as fuel when really I think it’s just left me wrinkled. Adorable, but creased.
I don’t have any other insight now, nor any actual occasion for this blog other than that now that there is silence where there was conversation, and maybe if I write this, you can hear me and maybe that can matter.