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The Real Life
I’ve been wanting to finish a post I started writing months ago about description in poetry and writing about real life and Mark Doty and my students and observation and the difference between writing about real life and Confessional poetry, but I couldn’t because I’ve been too busy living my real life. This is not an excuse. This is a list of 30 things I’ve done since April 16th instead of blogging.
1. Sifting through myfonts.com to find the perfect text ornament to use on the section divider pages of my third book (4 + hours).
2. Read newish poems (sort of a weird poetic journalism I’ve fallen into) including a long, sexy-pregnant poem as part of a faculty poetry reading at Fordham (part of the Poets Out Loud Series). Terese Svoboda, Mark Svenvold, and Janet Kaplan also read. Reading the poem before my students and colleagues felt pleasurably naughty which made up for the fact that the reading was poorly attended (ostensibly due to the flood conditions in NY). (2+ hours)
3. Trading phone calls with and finally speaking to the manager at Empanada Mama to place my order for my Cinqo de Mayo baby shower. (1+ hour)
4. Talking on the phone with my friend Joan about whether I’m mad at her for being (in her words) a “lame friend” for not “dealing with the whole baby shower thing” and making up inappropriate baby shower games most of which involved lactation sight gags (8+ hours).
5. Two soccer games (and two rained out). (6 hours)
6. Two trips to the pediatrician, waiting at the pharmacy, daily administration of antibiotics for strep throat (my sons have each had strep throat twice in the past month). (4+ hours)
7. Applying for permissions for my anthology, conversations with University of Iowa Press and with my co-editor Arielle Greenberg. (20+ hours)
8. Visit from our homebirth midwife, Miriam Schwarzchild. (2 hours)
9. Teaching (18+ hours)
10. Went to my friend Nathan Englander’s reading at the New York Public Library to celebrate the publication of his novel, The Ministry of Special Cases.
11. Private childbirth refresher/ homebirth course with Ellen Chuse. (2 hours)
12. Sitting with my older son while he does homework (this mostly involves answering questions about the Lenape people — did you know that the grandfathers were “useful” because, among other things, they made spoons? ), listening to one son practice violin and the other practice piano and the various pleas they both make to get out of practicing. (5+ hours).
13. Playing board games with sick and well sons. (Do not purchase Dungeonville!) (4+ hours)
14. Reading The Ministry of Special Cases which I could NOT put down despite the overwhelming number of things I NEEDED to do because it is an amazing novel. (10 hours).
15. Took one son to see a homeopath. (1 hour)
16. Wore this wack dress to read with Ann Lauterbach, Kimiko Hahn, Miranda Field, Deborah Landau, Kathy Ossip, Claudia Keelan, Caroline Crumpacker, and Camille Guthrie as part of the Fence Books poetry anthology Not For Mothers Only launch at the Saint Marks Poetry Project. (3 hours, not including the time it took me to get the dress off)
17. Food preparation and clean up for children (20+ hours and this is so little because my husband has taken over almost all of this job.)
18. Gave a lecture, at Fordham, on how to get poems published in literary magazines (despite the fact that I haven’t sent work to magazines in over 2 years). (2 hours)
19. Flossing my sons’ teeth. (1 hour)
20. Flossing my own teeth. (20 minutes)
21. Bedtime reading (mostly Anne of Green Gables). (3 hours)
22. Took 3 graduate students to Momofuku in the East Village and then to see Meghan O’Rourke, Claudia Keelan and Jorie Graham read at the Reading Between A and B series and saw so many friends and poets and poet-friends. (4 hours)
23. Helping my husband pick fonts and colors for the t-shirts he is designing on spreadshirt–my favorite is the “False Messiah” onesie or child-sized t-shirt. (1 hour)
24. Couples therapy. (2 hours)
25. Prenatal visit from our labor doula, Terry Richmond.
26. Took my sons and their friend to see a production of Anne of Green Gables and then out for dinner. Almost peed in my pants when my son shifted suddenly in my lap (I barely have a lap) and cried hard at the end of the play when Marilla finally tells Anne she is proud of her and loves her. (3 hours) (Number of times I said, “guys, stop that!” = 300). (My son’s 8 year old friend told me that while she liked the story she “couldn’t stand the writing style” of Anne of Green Gables. She went on to explain to me that the problem with (I thought at first she was saying Ellen) “L.M. Montgomery is that she was writing in imitation of Dickens and Dickens is great but writing in imitation of Dickens is really not great.”)
27. Working out. (3 hours) Walking. (5 hours)
28. Corresponding with my book designer, publisher, the poetry foundation, poet-moms listserve etc. (5 hours)
29. Searching for the correct citations for these quotes which appear as epigraphs in my book: “Is the Soul just a notion, a drug?” (Alice Notley) and “we could have been happy sooner” (Brenda Hillman). (2 hours)
30. Buying birth and baby-related things on line such as nursing bras, waterproof mattress cover, onesies (my favorite is the Woody Allen onesie I got on Etsy) , diapers, homeopathic remedies, a “hotsling,” changing pad, etc.). (4 hours)