Wednesday, July 2, 2008

On not preparing dried beans

I owe this blog a long post-- mainly because it forces me to a) be serious about confronting my thoughts so that they might be translated into words , and b) not forget that I need a life plan. Beth, your just-published post (welcome!-- thanks for contributing!) reminds me, thank goodness, that all is not lost. If I'm thinking about writing at least once a day I can at least be content with managing the rest of the life stuff. I'm in the "managing life stuff" portion now, deep in the mire. The updates are short and without much aplomb (yes, I'm also playing Scrabulous too much):

If I can't be creative in my own head trying to draft another poem while staring at the lumber yard across the street, at least there's always the real world to entertain me:

Pizza by the 'hunk', Oklahoma

East Glacier, MT. I recently hiked to a glacial lake here with a group. We saw coyote, bears, and host of other animals. We roughed it without cable television and much potable water. But really, sometime your National Park visit isn't complete without a purple spoon.


I discovered the wordy joy of posting for-sale furniture on Craigslist, as I winnow away my belongings. To secure each post users are required to enter those special computer-generated words you see on the screen, obscured with squiggly lines so that spam-happy computers can't weasel their way past this security. I posted about six separate entries, so I had security words like "cheese Chekhov" and "steel oranges". Reminding me of the article I read about CAPTCHA, the name for this security feature, instead of starting Infinite Jest or preparing dried beans.

This may, too, be old news. After tireless attempts by the media to perpetuate rumors about the presidential candidates, Obama got a lot of press for keeping a offshoot of his official website devoted to accepting and officially responding to rumors about his life, his family and his campaign. This seems particularly relevant to our position as bloggers. It's difficult to avoid divulging personal information, or to gossip. If I only discussed my own life, my posts would read as complaints; talking about our interactions with fellow-MFAers and writers helps us (me?) put this experience into perspective, and, yes, makes for more enjoyable reading. Obama's efforts to confront the rumor mill that continues on the television news via a solely electronic forum (I can't say I heard much in the news about him making a public address about this website launch) is an interesting acknowledgment of a problem with the e-medium we use with increasing regularity.


Yesterday, noticing my cupboards grow increasingly bare and I move in 10 days, it dawned on me: I may need a co-signer for an apartment. Since May I've firmly decided to avoid any kind of planning about my move to Chicago. I'll live in the moment-- UHaul will have to pry the trailer lock keys from my clammy, sweaty hands before I let them take it back if I arrive without a place to store my stuff and a floor to place the Aerobed. I haven't received positive responses from any of the handful of applications I sent out for jobs-- so I gave up and figured I'd wait for the temp jobs to tide me over. I don't have an apartment; my partner and I can't muster the courage to commit sight unseen. I don't have a local doctor, a local vet, a local bank account. I made this choice not to choose anything for the future because meticulous planning before I came to Montana only exhausted my print cartridges, and made for little peace of mind. I printed elaborate Excel spreadsheets plotting my drive out here, and the resources in Missoula to help me be a resident. But-- without a job lined up, and my last job now three weeks ended, I'm an unemployed drifter with the financial stability to drift with stuff in tow, firmly committed to my possessions. Landlords need the security to know their tenants will be able to pay the rent, monthly. I can't really prove that. I can make promises, but only that.

This, too, is that time where fellow MFAers still here in Missoula switch conversation to " that I'll be looking for an agent/ sending out my proposal...". This marks brave new territory for our graduating class, and the sentiment is widely shared. As Kelly so recently put it, "we're now ejected from the writing womb", and we begrudgingly accept the next step to keep momentum up to throw a manuscript out there to the world and see what happens. I've now searched and agonized over choosing poetry collection contests to submit to. Deadlines cluster around September and October. So, I return to contemplating the dynamics of a collection over an individual poem. It all made sense in thesis meetings, but the stakes seem higher. This isn't for the University Library archive-- this is for the outside reader, who hasn't worked with me for two years. I think this means I better edit.

Picking up my last pay stub at the English office today, my "replacement" (I was really the interim until a permanent hire was made for that position) offered me the kind words of wisdom from W. C. Fields, which I, terrible at remembering anything verbatim for more than 12 minutes, will attempt to paraphrase: "Life is full of boring moments punctuated by bouts of sheer terror." Sounds about right.

1 comment:

Isaiah Vianese said...

Hey Laurie,

I've been thinking about contests too, as I am (painfully at points) revising a manuscript. Though I am nowhere near ready sending my work someplace, I thought I might share I two contests that I think are particularly appealing. As you might suspect, I am partial to the BOA contest. :)

Best wishes to you on your move and your submissions.