Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Thoughts between Exams

Updating has not been a priority. Family, school, and trying to find some time to be creative (which has been sorely lacking) have all taken precedence, as they should. But even writing a blog post I can justify as working on what I'm supposed to be doing in graduate school, so here it goes:

One comp exam is done. I've been preparing for the poetry genre test since my first English course at Allegheny, so I shouldn't have been that worried about it. Yes, it took up a big chunk of my weekend writing it, but the questions helped my clarify a lot about what I want poems to do, mine or someone else's. I'll never break down a poem's argument very clearly, or at least use the terminology that's expected of someone who's studying for a Ph.D. Between this exam and the final I took for my last class last spring, I can't tell how many times I used the word "connection." That's what I want, what I need from poems: to get me in the gut, the core, more than in my head. Yes, I can break down the poet's tricks, but I want to avoid that for as long as possible. Is that anti-intellectual to not want to force rhetoric into the discussion? Maybe I talk about these issues in a different lanaguage that works just as well. Most times I feel like I'm faking my way through this degree, that I'm not here for the same reasons others are, for the "right" reasons. Does that go away, ever?

I have a week until my second exam, which is going to be the hardest of the three exams I need to pass this year. I've read plenty of the novels and plays, but the contemporary theory... not so much. That'll be much more difficult to fake, I'm sorry to say. We'll see how it goes next week.


Atticus is bigger every day. He laughs deeper and in ways that make it clear he knows what's going on. He headbutts ferociously. He eats clementines and grapes with abandon. Same with turkey of all forms and slushes, which makes me know he's mine and wasn't mixed up at the hospital. He fights his naps like he's one big coil ready to release all that energy into action. When I ask him for a kiss, he purses his lips or opens his mouth and tries to swallow my nose until I redirect and instead get a sloppy kiss. He obliges again and again. I don't know how long that will last, but maybe a while longer. Maybe. He is a sweet boy. He's my boy.


Great to see two poems in the latest Crab Orchard Review. I've always wanted to be in there, and I was ecstatic when I found out I would be. Such a well put together journal. I got proofs from Harpur Palate for a poem from my second project, which should be out soon. Can't wait for that. I also saw proofs from Third Coast's Midwest symposium. I was asked to write an essay about what it means to be a Midwestern writer, and I'm happy with the results. It's not just that I used to work there, but it's such a beautiful, professional journal.

I need to get the ms. out more. I was a semifinalist in a recent contest, and I hope this lights a fire under me to actually get it out in the world. Molly and I have an agreement that I can send out to one contest a month, and I hope that's enough to at least start getting some more semi- and even finalist nods. The ms. doesn't feel as put together as it could be, but it's pretty solid, I think. Maybe needs a new title. I don't know. I'm stuck on that one. Hmm.


I'm listening to my music, not the little man's, for the first time in a long time. Boy, does this feel right? Music always seems to get me back on track with feeling like a writer.