Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To the Unborn

The residency is over - hurrah! and boo... I will miss all of the students and faculty - such a weird transition from seeing people all of the time to none of the time.

I found out yesterday that another friend miscarried. :( I went to the doc yesterday but they think I'm only six weeks along instead of eight, so I'm going back in two weeks. The doctor didn't fail to let me know that conceiving while on birth control increases the risk of miscarriage. This is a complicated thing for me, because Lord knows Brandon and I weren't planning on getting pregnant right now, and the timing (in my world) isn't very good, for work purposes and for my husband's sanity, but on the flip side - that would not make a miscarriage any easier to deal with. I saw the little blob on the ultrasound. Any mom knows that the instant you're aware of being pregnant, all you think about is that baby - names, gender, health, personality - you become fixated, whether you were planning to or not. All of this to say - I'm nervous for this baby and already wondering if he/she'll make it. Am I not too careful? Am I worried for nothing? Am I suspicious?

In light of other friends' situations: a poem I wrote for my miscarried babies...

To the Unborn

And now you are the ellipsis,
the unfinished sentence,
the introductory clause
that made hollow promises
and then slipped off the page
almost as an oversight,
as if the printer ran out of ink
or out of paper,
or out of power,
a deadline passed
six months in advance,
the memory
that never was
and never will be

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Never-Ending Summer Residency

Okay. I am tired. Really, really tired. But the last nine/ten days or so have been fabulously fun and exciting, and of course inspirational in the poetic way. Because there are double the number of people at this year's residency, there are double the number of complaints and general issues to work out. Food is definitely a culture thing. I realize now that I am a true-blue meat-and-potatoes girl. That's all there is to it. I have no clue what "good food" is, and less of a clue about vegan diets, vegetarian diets, and other strict dietary needs and meeting those needs. Oh, to have a cheeseburger right now!

In spite of the food wars, most everything has gone splendidly well. The visiting writers have been great, the faculty are excellent and loads of fun to spend time with, and the students are generally good-natured and pleased with the program. And I am tired. Just plain tired. I am sure this is partly due to the seven week or eight week pregnancy bit, which is spiking up in its usual symptom of nausea.

The husband has been a real trooper the last week and a half, and I'm glad things have gone relatively well. I stayed home tonight instead of going to the faculty reading so I could actually spend time with them for a bit. It feels like I've been doing the residency forever and that it may never end. But, the end is sneaking its way closer and closer, and I know I will be sad when it is over. Goodbye, students! Farewell, faculty! Back to quiet office hours... kind of...

Sleepy time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day One - Residency

Today is the first day of the residency at AU, and my children and husband have left the house for the in-laws. I have a feeling of hovering, waiting for "it" all to happen. There were plans to go to church this morning, but I think with the check-in and meetings, orientations, etc. I can't. We met the faculty for dinner last night at The Cabin (Fabulous!), which was excellent - I am even more thrilled about this coming two weeks and the year to follow. The people are awesome. I think our students are going to be thrilled with the new hires. I am.

Tex has fleas. Ew. He has been an outdoor dog the last few months because we were tired of yelling at him all the time to stop begging from the kids, and he also has this habit of needing to go outside at 6:00 a.m. regardless of the day. He initiates this need by scratching relentlessly on whatever door is in his way to said outside. This had to stop - especially because the scratching seemed to have a direct coorelation with the time our children woke up. Bye bye, Texy! Outside you go! With this comes consequences - mostly for him - we occasionally forget to feed him in the morning; he now has fleas; and, my favorite, he gets the leash tangled around my newly planted holly bushes, yanking them out of the ground. It will be a miracle if they survive.

One of my favorite things about the residency is being in the presence of this hoard of writers who are not afraid to talk about writing as if it is the most important topic on earth. This is good fun. What I always come to realize, however, is that I do not fit the writer-mold: I am not left-wing vegan organic activist; I am not a professor with months of time to do research (though if anyone would like to grant me this time, I'd be happy to take it); I do not snub the midwest lack of big city culture. Here I am, small town girl, generally appreciative and easy going. How did I land here??

At any rate, these two weeks will be challenging, envigorating, and exciting. AND, I still have hoards of submissions pending all over the place, which is fun. I made the SHORT LIST at Relief: Quarterly Christian Expression - the first time I've received such an email. Hurrah!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I have been wanting to get back into the habit of "blogging", or what used to be called journaling and before that diarying, for some time - and this seems like a good time to start back up. I have known for about a week that we are pregnant with #3, which seems unbelievable. THREE KIDS. I am of course thrilled and excited, but the husband is less-than-so, since he is still the primary care giver in the relationship.

I had the hardest time coming up with a clever name for my new distraction from everything else I should be doing, but thanks to a recent poem, I found myself a title. "Driftwood" came about from an old poem I wrote when BW and I started dating and went river walking. This is funny now because my husband is not exactly nature-boy. The things you'll do to win a girl's heart, I tell you what. At any rate, the old poem was... bad. But I love renovation, and renovating old poems is much like renovating houses - you find one characteristic you love and you build on it, tearing everything else away. So, "Driftwood" came about as a piece about marriage making two people holy rather than happy, though it could be about any type of long term relationship - with God, with people, with pets, I don't know ;)

Here 'tis -


Not unlike two pieces of driftwood from up river,
we spin in the current and undertow of the falls.
The rocks, slick under our sandals render each step
cautious, the familiar made unfamiliar
by lichened sandstone loosened, unpredictable,
transient beneath our feet.

The water makes us softer; we are blending,
being refined, losing sharper edges, your limbs
and mine twist together, threaten to destroy each other.
How do I not break you, our throes violent, sudden, severe?
I could snap in half, take part of you with me.

When we’re finally spit out, the knotted whorl left over
will be bare, our two indistinguishable, polished, holy.