the 30/30 challenge was tapping into an energy i’d enjoyed when i was writing most feverishly, a part of me that i thought had left the building.
much like everyone else, i initially gravitated toward it in total admiration for the spunk and spirit deborah (the patient) shows and for the openness of the amazing group of people who joined her in the dance. right away i think we all wished we could face fear with such great style. but when i came back to the video today, i realized it represents something else, as well:
i’m pretty much over the i’m-going-through-a-divorce storyline entirely. i’m ready to shed it. to skinny dip my way through my life. to dive into my relationship not as antidote but as its own Very Good Love. to explore motherhood and citizenship without schlepping around my baggage and lamenting its weight. to be an artist not as survivor of anything but as one with tremendous fire and spirit apart from battle.
i hadn’t anticipated being so tired. except for some upkeep of my running routine and walking between buildings on campus, we — quite literally — were “butts in chairs.” i didn’t realize how exhausting that could be, but we were immersed in the work for 6-7 hours/day, with time spent on reading and writing assignments additional.
he shared it as an example of how “great poetry marvels at the world.” it occurs to me i’ve spent a lot of time lamenting this or that relationship, this or that loss, in my poems. there’s still room for that, certainly, but i’m interested in opening them up a bit more.
when i returned to poetry in my early 30s, i used strange images and took lots of leaps. for some reason, especially the last 2-3 years when i’ve really been struggling with new material, i lost track of that playfulness. i developed some other skills — better line breaks and use of sound — so it wasn’t all time wasted. but what’s come out of the workshops (both the instruction and the critique) is a reminder to be playful again, to bring sexy back (ha ha).
we could be anywhere. it’s not like a get-away at a well-known city or beach or landmark where we’re experiencing something already known with the expectations that carries. *we’re* the attraction here, this gathering of writers. for us, *this* is what’s happening… and really nothing else. we are inside this “anyone lived in a pretty how town” place. we are within the confines of a grassy brick building campus. we are inside lecture halls, dining facilities, dorms. we talk only to each other. we consider what’s on the page. we are inside our own heads a lot.