Embracing the Fog Creatively

Yesterday I charged my dead reMarkable. I am ready to write poetry again, despite the chemo-induced fog I’m still experiencing.

A person can find meaning in fog. It can be very soothing actually, fog filling the little depressions in the landscape. Depression is the actual scientific name for places where the fog gathers here on the Jæren bogs . No metaphor intended. All truths converge at some point – maybe language with the landscape especially.

I delivered the final draft of the Lear adaptation on time. I don’t think I could be prouder of myself, or more appreciative of the opportunity. I am excited to see what the director does with it. How the actors bring breath to the artifact that is the text.

But what to do now? I’m still mourning the loss of my upstairs studio, and I learned it will probably be another two years before I have the space again. I also know full-well that I am using this as an excuse to shove the physical (vispo) poetry work to the side right now. I’m craving order, and paper-making and the like is disorder and there’s no corner of the house that I am willing to let go of right now. Maybe I really do need to go back to the basics.

Haibun, tanka, still pulling at me. American sentences. Maybe I need to explore my own forms – constrained poetry – outside of the vispo context.

Maybe. Definitely. And it shouldn’t be surprising that I want to work with form right now. Control. Order.

I am learning to recognize the windows when I have enough focus to read. I’m looking forward to reading a collection this evening – something that has been sitting patiently in my inbox for too long.

And I’ll begin reading for Orange Blossom Review soon. I’m looking forward to it. I have to admit to googling the poets whose work I have given a thumbs-up to. Sometimes they pass through the other editors to make the cut, sometimes not. Being a reader reminds me often how writing is about the whole process and not the curriculum vitae. Always, too, about the individual reader.

Someone will read Billy Collins’ The Lanyard at B.’s memorial service next week. It didn’t surprise me to see it in the program. It’s her favorite poem. She told me a few times. But until I saw it in the program, I didn’t think it could be a metaphor for what we try to do with our lives – in her case – a life that is a gift from God. I’m feeling a bit foolish now for not having seen it before. But I think we all have our blinders when it comes to possible perspectives: our biases, our traumas, our investments.

I am not invested in mother poems. Or God poems. But I should be invested in opening up to the perspective of people I love. I think I need to start looking to understand what other people see in the poems I first think “aren’t for me”. It is embarrassing to admit, but I’m not very good at this.

I wish I had taken more notes this past year. Why on earth do I still think I’ll remember a line when it comes to me in the middle of doing something other than writing? I don’t have a theory about where poetry comes from, but maybe Ruth Stone’s metaphor of poems as creatures flying past isn’t that far off from my experience. There is craftsmanship for certain, but there are also those rare gifts that open and unfold unexpectedly.

Catch me if you can.


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