Quiet day. I didn’t get a lot done. Finished reading some blogger’s archives. Stared out the windows at our pet Mutant Squash. Thought.
It’s August. Friends are coming back from their vacations, getting ready for school. I had thought I would be starting the PhD program. I’m not. Though I am very, very, very excited for the baby, I feel a bit lost and left behind in every other aspect of my life. And isolated.
I haven’t written any new poetry since late April. Most of the work I did after I finished the material for the thesis was crap. And I haven’t had the heart to work on it. I know that I wasn’t rejected from the PhD program because of a lack of talent or intellectual ability. And I know that I don’t need a PhD to write. What I do need is a community. That’s what I miss when I think about not attending school this coming year. And though I thought I’d reapply this fall, Kristin’s making noises about wanting to go back herself, and really, it’s her turn.
The funny thing is, the very writing community that I crave is also contributing to my very first crisis of influence. I owe a friend a critique of her manuscript. It’s amazing. I’m going to mention her name because one day she is going to absolutely famous for both her music and her poetry, so keep an eye out for her: Kathryn Cowles. I’m reading her manuscript for the umpteenth time and seeing so many of the ways that she has influenced my own writing of the last few years. And the question that begs to be asked is this: why read me, when she says it so much better? Now any of you who might still be with me through this very self-pitying post really have no way of judging my talents (or, probably, hers) so I’m not expecting anyone to tell me: “no, Trista, really, you’re quite an original and stunning poet, and Kathryn’s good too, but really, you’re doing two very different things and your writings resonate off each other rather than cancel or compete…” I can tell myself things like that all night. Whether I believe them or not is another thing entirely.
What it comes down to is that the phenomenal growth in my skills and interests is entirely dependant on the community of writers that I have been seeped in for the last two years. Yes, I am a sponge: spineless and full of holes (and apt to get a little stinky when left to soak in my own moisture). And I am desperately afraid that 1) they will no longer have time for me (the corollary of this is that they will leave me behind) and 2) that I am not really a real writer. That I can’t do it on my own. That I have forgotten how to be self-sufficient with my writing (I mean, after all, it was 5 years between the bachelor’s degree and grad school, and I wrote well enough during that time to get published and accepted into the program, and I wasn’t even an English major in college.)
So, OK. I’m heading in a different direction. I’m not going to school. I may not even be working in the non-profit/humanities programming/library-related field I’ve worked in for the last 5 years. Newness. I can handle that. I’ll take this time to send things out. Enter some contests. Re-evaluate. Find a new project.
Don’t worry, this melancholia is the sure result of so much hard work recently. Or maybe so much of this hard work is the result of the melancholia…
One thing I must say for blogging, or at least reading blogs, is that it sort-of approximates the community I want to build even though many of the women I read have no idea that I am reading them, or taking heart in their journeys, or that if I knew where they lived (and if they lived close to me) I would stalk them until they conceded that I am the best friend they were ever forced to have. It does help.
I probably shouldn’t post this, but I’m going to anyway. I wanted this primarily to be a record for myself, and myself has bad days sometimes.