Monday, January 20, 2014

**The Muse Must Have Gotten a Better Paying Gig**

2013 wasn't my most productive year. In the spring, a health fright ultimately turned out to be overcautiousness on the part of the medical establishment. At my age (52 this coming February), I should get used to abnormal test results, but this one rocked me for three weeks. I also had the pleasure of my very first colonoscopy in the autumn. In between, I was learning
my new day gig and catching up on some bills. The Muse pretty much left me alone for a good part of the year.

I brought sections of an old poem to the Goat Hill Poets salon each month, so I was covered there. I took a break from most open mics in the Hudson Valley area, and tried out life as a non-poet. I came home most every evening straight after work  I cook more now that we've fixed the oven in the 1936 Chambers that came with the house, and this makes dinner more interesting. If you're still stuck with a toaster oven, let me know. I am a Master Chef with those.

I've worked on and off over the year on a memoir about my early years in college and after, and my very, very silly marriage. In referring to my journals from that time, I have been confronted with the true complexities of my life then, much more nuanced than the simple 'he hit me and I moved out' story that I'd learned to tell myself afterwards, to justify my actions and to help put that part of my life to rest, to move on to whatever was ahead. There were complications, someone else I met two weeks after my wedding that I may or may not have made a go with if I had met him just a month earlier. Someone I thought was as close to a soul mate as I'd ever get (not quite believing in the concept). There were complications with him. Complexities with school, family, work. I wish my younger self had been bolder, but I had a lot of figuring out to do. There were many reasons I jumped at the chance to marry at 19, the least of which was love.

Being confronted with the realities of my past has motivated me positively, if not creatively. I am more aware of time "wasted", and of the limited time ahead. I am cleaning out closets, cutting my hair, castiing off art supplies and remnants of hobbies that no longer speak to me, bit by bit. I feel compelled to put things in order, as if that will count for something at the end. I know part of it is a desire to live the rest of my life in a more streamlined fashion. How much does it all matter? What will the scales show once I'm out of breath for good? Not for me to worry about. But this is how I'm compelled to behave now. 

In fact, I almost feel like if I never wrote another word, I'd be good with it. I am satisfied with my efforts to date, short of my goals as they are. I am also comfortable with my limitations, finally acknowledging I'll never be Erica Jong or Sylvia Plath. I am quiet now. I've had years like this before. 2002 was one of them. Until I hooked up with my Roommate, my Beloved, I spent a long time in shock about 9/11. I had no desire to add to the piles of odes and graphic rants that tried to pass for odes. Words failed me. Now perhaps I'm failing them. There are stirrings, urges that indicate I won't be quiet for good. Very rough drafts right after returning from Costa Rica, a hit and run trip for work that turned out better than I'd hoped. But in the meantime, there's a birthday party to plan. Dishes to wash. Blue jeans to patch, or toss aside. And a desk to clear off and at least put papers in order. 

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