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Archive for the ‘New Year’s’ Category

I used to get the most wonderful feeling from writing. Poetry, especially, was a lifeline for me. I loved that percolating, almost giddy sense of impending creation that meant I was ready to rough out the bones of a poem. The revising was even better, shaping lines and words like clay.

That feeling died over the years. A lot of it was killed off through sheer overuse after more than a decade of writing greeting cards nonstop. I also grew up, literally and figuratively, and lost the luster of naivete — instead of the lofty self-delusions that I could be a great poet, I faced the reality that I wasn’t even a good poet (at least not according to the standards I respected). That kind of gritty acceptance renders the effervescence of literary creation as flat as yesterday’s bath water. Editing Poet’s Market for all those years kind of sealed the deal as far as my slacking off on my poetry. Instead of being inspired by all those opportunities to publish, I felt overwhelmed by them and by the quantity of poetry that gets published yet goes unread.

I’ve never reached the point of understanding the difference between crocheting a piece of lace, embroidering a sampler, or quilting a wall hanging and simply writing for the pleasure of it. It never bothers me that few people will ever see my handiwork; yet the lack of audience has no impact on either my striving for excellence or my immense sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. I reach for a current needlework project as if picking it will save my life; I haven’t reached for my notebook that way in more than a decade.

Yet to create a poem that won’t be read or published, to do it simply for the enjoyment of the process and the fulfillment of completing a small work of art, seems like an act of futility. Why? It’s all wrong. It doesn’t help that the literary establishment doesn’t seem to encourage writing without trying to publish. God forbid there should be love of craft without ambition.

Since leaving Poet’s Market, I’ve taken a year off from poetry. I haven’t read much of it, haven’t visited the blogs or the zines, and definitely haven’t written a single line. That was partly due to my latent resentment at losing Poet’s Market, partly due to that futile, burned-out feeling; but it was also a deliberate choice, an act of literary fasting.

Maybe it helped. Because I’m beginning to miss poetry, both reading it and writing it. And sometimes I feel that little tingle that means I WANT to start working on a poem. I think it would be good for me. Whether I try to publish or not, I don’t know. I’ve been sending out work for almost 40 years, so it’s kind of second nature. Then again, maybe I’ll just post the poems I write here. Maybe update with revised versions. We’ll see. But it’s one of my resolutions for 2009 — I’m going to write poetry again. I’m going to write more period (that includes blogging as well).

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Yes, that includes losing weight. I’m a realist; I know with the way my diets go that losing 10 pounds over the coming 12 months will be an accomplishment. So I can’t project a “brand new me” a year from now, at least not from the standpoint of buxom build and big hips.

A “new me” in the sense of being a healthier me is more than an attainable goal; it’s also an absolutely necessary one. Besides my weight problem, I also have Type 2 diabetes. Over the past several months especially, I’ve eaten horribly for any responsible adult, let alone one with high blood sugar. So my resolutions regarding health do involve diet and food, and if my vanity gets stoked by shedding a couple of inches of blubber, so much the better.

The point, though, is to get myself under control physically. Make the calories I consume mean something, and keep the numbers in line.

I do exercise almost daily¬†(I have a total gym, although my workouts are rather brief — more than 15-20 minutes and I’m crippled the next day, for some reason), but I want to expand the ways I exercise. I need more movement, more stretching. I need to walk more.

It all goes back to discipline — a recurring theme in my resolutions for 2009.

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Despite my sketchy blogging over the past six months, I do not intend to abandon Salmagundi Express. In fact, I want to discipline myself to post again regularly, at least 2-3 times per week.

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Being retrospective by nature, I’ve indulged myself in reviewing the year just passed since I was a child. I actually enjoyed it, reliving the best moments especially, but also looking at challenges, failures, triumphs, and taking stock of what the coming year might hold.

2008 has been a BAD year. I’m in way better shape than so many people, especially in the financial area (I still have a job, after all) that to talk about my problems seems like whining in the extreme. And some of the worst things that happened hit loved ones harder than me personally (health problems in particular), but when the people I care about have troubles, they’re my troubles as well.

So I am NOT reviewing 2008. I’m all about moving on right now, and trying to rebuild. I’ve let a lot slide this past year, and I intend to do something about it. I can’t fix the economy or cure diseases. I can only put my little pinhole part of the world in decent order. So I’ll be posting some resolutions over coming days — not because I think anyone really cares, but because I want to put those resolutions out in public, as if maybe that will make me feel a little more accountable. I don’t know how much worse off I or my family or the world will be a year from now, but at least if I’ve met a few simple, self-centered goals I might have SOMETHING to feel good about as another year of our all-too-short lives winds down.

Okay, that came out wrong. I have plenty to feel good about as 2008 closes, especially where the people I love are concerned — and I have a roof over my head, an income and savings (for now, at least), food in my belly (too much, in fact). But I’m quite unhappy with myself. THAT is what I want to feel better about next year. It’s the one aspect of life I do have some control over. At a time when everything globally seems out of control, that matters.

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