Gratitude List: Oranges, Etc

I used to post gratitude lists fairly regularly, along with other lists. That’s supposed to be what blogs are for: thoughts too long for Facebook, but too short or too rough for more polished forums. I’ve been in one of my shy-about-blogging phases, so here’s something to break the ice.

Great Mother, thank you for:

  • Oranges
  • Clean water
  • My job
  • Going home from my job
  • Deborah, Eugenia, Kelly, Wandajune, and other friends
  • Having $1.50 in change so I can buy a soda from the vending machine
  • The guys I sit with in the company cafeteria
  • The window next to my cubicle (I waited eight years for that!)
  • Daily coincidences that show me the Universe is on my side
  • Ball point pens
  • Clean underwear
  • Modern pharmaceuticals
  • Good healthcare
  • Barbara Helfgott Hyett’s workshop
  • Poet friends near and far
  • Jellyfish Magazine
  • Oddball Magazine
  • The Queer Open Mic at Fazenda in Jamaica Plain
  • The people coming to my poetry workshop this Thursday
  • The Boston Dyke March
  • Sweet, sweet sleep
  • My comfy bed

Making Love in Public: Part One of Poets & Writers ((LIVE)) San Francisco

Always good to hear about existential angst and fear of writing conferences from another poet.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest blog post (and nifty sketches) from Rebecca Fish Ewan reviewing the recent Poets & Writers ((LIVE)) event in San Francisco:

David Shields David Shields

Why go to a writer’s conference? Isn’t writing an occupation of isolation? Of loneliness? David Shields often quotes David Foster Wallace’s wisdom on loneliness. He did so in Melbourne in 2012 (see Is Writing Better Than Sex?) and again this past weekend in San Francisco at Poets & Writers ((LIVE)), while his friend Caleb Powell joined him on stage looking agitated (This is their collaborative art form … arguing in public).

Wallace had said: “We’re existentially alone on the planet. I can’t know what you’re thinking and feeling and you can’t know what I’m thinking and feeling. And the very best works construct a bridge across that abyss of human loneliness.”

Right. The work constructs a bridge, not the actual writer, so why fly from…

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Garden of Images – Distressed Mermaid Mandala

I drew this mandala during a particularly difficult morning, when I was feeling extra sensitive and had lots of noise and hubbub happening all around me. When I’m in a regular state of mind, leaf blowers are an annoyance. When I’m feeling like I have no skin, they’re an assault to the senses. In the text that (very imperfectly) folds into the curves of this mandala, I try to reconcile the gift of my senses with the challenging things they sense. I never did finish the thought in the drawing, but I do in the caption below.

Image of a mandala with a distressed-looking stick figure mermaid surrounded by stormy water
To see the world and still stand in it is the challenge
I must walk the line between protection and sensitivity
The world will always be there with all its slings and arrows
Leaf blowers, car heaters, trees make me cough.
Sun burns. People say callous things
I persevere

#IndictBoston and more Ferguson links.

I’m so proud of my city for the impassioned, nonviolent protest that took place last night in the wake of the Ferguson ruling. If I were the fearless 19-year-old I used to be (and not in the
midst of moving house), I would have been on the streets with the rest of the crowd. Here’s a report from a friend who was there.

Tutus And Tiny Hats

Marching to shut down the I-93 connector. Marching to shut down the I-93 connector.

Last night, I joined over a thousand Bostonians calling for justice for Mike Brown. It was heartening to see so much of my city turn out, and when I got home and went on Twitter, the protest was still going strong. You can see some great pictures from the evening here and here.

One of the most powerful moments was when we marched to the South Bay House of Corrections and chanted to the incarcerated men, “We see you.” They stood at the windows waving, flipping their lights on and off, banging on the windows. One man used small pieces of paper to write “Mike” on his window.

indict boston protest outside of south bay jail Outside the South Bay jail.

This is what I’ve been reading:

-“If we were talking about the murder of my child, I would not be dignified. I would be naked and hideous with my grief. I would rage…

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Gratitude List: Fall Allergy Season Edition

• A wide social network
• Friends and family who know the me that exists beneath the facade of social media
• An emergency room just a few minutes away from my home that provides prompt, high-quality care
• A doctor’s office that knows my history and will see me when I’m sick
• Health insurance that makes it possible for me to seek out care without breaking the bank
• Knowing that many other people in my part of the world are suffering from respitory ailments — that I’m not alone in my suffering
• The kind of job that won’t fire me because I’m sick and can’t come to work
• Zyrtec, Robitussin, Tessalon pearls, and Albuterol
• A partner who’s willing and able to drive me to the doctor when I’m too sick to drive myself

There’s more to be grateful for than this. My life is changing very rapidly right now, and the stress of those changes has no doubt contributed to my getting so sick. But for today at least, I’m going to focus on resting, healing, and getting better. And on all the positive supports in my life that make that possible.