08 June 2009


'Tis a churlish day.

Spent the morning re-typing my poetry manuscript, the electronic copy of which was stolen when my rental car was broken into in Seattle last January.  It sounds like no big deal, but it's kind of a hairy manuscript, and I've hit a patch in the mss. where I don't like the poems anymore (right now) (did I ever?), so I want to give up now, give up the whole thing, the whole writing thing. Which means the whole existence thing. 

(Don't worry, I'm not suicidal, just, just. . . bothered in a kind of restless, unsettled way, as the Bard says with what i most enjoy contented least.)

What do you do with a day like this?  And how do you keep it from seeping into other days?

I did bake Cracked Wheat Honey bread today.

So I guess that's two things on my to-do list--retyping the mss. and baking bread.  I should feel good about that, right?

Gimme some advice:  what do you do when you suddenly feel your whole idea of yourself is built on a faulty premise?  Start over?  Ignore it?  Decide it's too late to turn back?



eliza.e.campbell said...

I watch The Simpsons, personally.

OR just remember how universal that feeling is. Everyone's gotten it and gotten through it, just like pinkeye.

emily said...

fall back on routine. this quote from gertude stein is on that happiness project blog: "anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful."

or, let yourself feel meaningless and lost. those are fertile feelings.

Margot said...

I'm having a very similar kind of day. I'm reading critiques of the diss. paper, wondering why I'm putting myself through this. Why am I doing this in the first place? Aren't there lots of other things I could do that would be better then this? I don't want to fight for this anymore. Where did my fight go?

So I called my mom and she said all the things she always says when I whine to her. They never really make me feel better but at least stop me from doing something senseless. My poor mom.

For what it's worth, if you are re-entering the manuscript I'm acquainted with, it is definitely worth re-entering.

shaunita said...

I buy a pint of ben and jerry's phish food ice cream, watch a sensless, yet entertaining movie, then go running. The combination of self-indulgence and exertion tends to clense my mind and I can take a fresh look at whatever is plaguing (sp?) me.

Janell said...

My opinion is that you keep going along with the plan because even if it is built on a faulty premise, as long as you continue it will become something strong. Thanks for a great dinner.

toast said...

the simpsons--yes
gertrude stein--the best, and a really thoughtful quote
shaunita--i like the idea of indulgence and exertion
janell--you're right, and it was fun

xo, all you smarties out there.


Thomas said...

"What do you do when you suddenly feel your whole idea of yourself is built on a faulty premise?"---augghhh!

I am lately trying to stay pretty loose on my idea of myself in order to leave room for improvements I fear/dread/dream of and doubt. Still, something is coming up that could change things.

Book group at your house was so lavish and rich. Not the least of the riches was meeting and talking with your articulate daughter. It's lovely to have connected to you as family.

I have a question I need to ask you via phone or email. Could you send me your contact info?



Mark A. said...

I find the most solace in moving my body--exercising, yogafying. Maybe it's brain stem stuff, but it's also inner eye. And maybe it's because nothing I do professionally has anything to do with my body, but connecting back to the clumsy movement of my arms, legs, stomach and neck clear my vision and make me feel centered. I was reading an Atlantic article about the Harvard longitudinal study on a bunch of Harvard men, Classes of '43, '44, and '45. It was unique in that it was thorough and, while there were rough spots, ongoing up until today. Based on the data, the keys to long life were: (1) mature methods of dealing with stress; (2) happy marriage; (3) no smoking; (4) no alcohol abuse; and (5) some regular exercise. I couldn't read the whole the article 'cause I spilled Cream Cheese frosting on the last page--that made me sad (that I dropped the frosting).

Mark A. said...

p.s. it wasnt frosting even. Maybe a velvety dal or cheeky masla paneer--you decide.

Alice Dubiel said...

I'm glad you're repairing the loss. I guess I go to a different place: something I call modified rage. I do take a break. I don't think organic beings continue indefinitely along the same path; our integrity allows for flexibility and finding alternate routes. I think it's what I tweeted about the other night (no more calm...) when I picked up ANOTHER computer (2nd one but third clean slate for installing) and began to install encore une fois. I drank coffee in the afternoon and put The Dark Knight on (which I still haven't finished watching, but I love the complexity; so I keep repeating). This was of course, preceded by a lot of evaluation, which still goes on. The computer installs are diverting me from artmaking, but are almost done (I assume). Part of what I'm awaiting is reliable scanning to make the next piece. Time consuming. Frustration? The rage part comes from knowing that anger can be energizing. And the modification is the evaluating part. What's interesting is while I wish this were done, I'm actually sort of accepting the process, that it's taking this long in ways I didn't expect to. A similar process occurs with every rejection, too. I wish my son knew about some of this...

Alice Dubiel said...

forgot to mention: the goal is not "to keep it seeping into other days." As for not liking the poems, can you adopt the persona of your archivist? Not the critical one, just the meditative one. You do need to keep these, even if you want to do something else. I had to do that even before the complete computer fizz when my online gallery's url was stolen by some, shall we say, interesting opportunists this spring. Got to be constructive.

lara said...

Margot--did your fight migrate to your uterus, perhaps? Don't give up, girl--you made it a lot farther than I did.

Alice, I'm going to think about rage and empowerment, rather than discouragement and sadness, if I'm interpreting your comments correctly.