Thursday, March 15, 2007

I never get the bed completely cleared off.

It's a big California King size bed. I sleep on one quarter of it.

Books, magazines, file folders full of lesson plans, diaries, pens, miscellaneous papers, bills, old drafts of poems sleep on the other three quarters.

If anyone wants to point out the metaphorical significance of this, don't worry, I already thought of it.

Yesterday, I taught second graders again. One boy asked me how to spell "whore."

"What?" I asked.

"You know, like the whore runs in the forest."

"What?" I repeated.

"You know, like a wild pig."

"Um, I think you mean boar. B-O-A-R."

The student teacher, who overheard all this, cracked up.

At night I taught poetry class through The Writing Salon. Talked about surrealism and did Andre Breton's famous poem about his wife. Even if you are not a surrealist, getting a little hit of it improves regular writing--refreshes the language, cleanses and enlarges the windows of perception.

I have one student who is 83 years old. She reminds me a bit of my mother and grandmother (I guess this is one of the occupational hazards of getting older--you start reminding everyone of maternal influences. Not always a good thing.) Anyway, she's Jewish, from New York, feisty, intellectual, opinionated, with a mordant sense of humor.

As we were leaving, I said, "Joan, do you want me to walk you down the stairs?"

"Oh no, I'm fine. This--" she gestured to her cane, "--is just to keep the men away."

The other women in the class are in their early thirties, very beautiful in the way that you don't know you are until later. I enjoy their company tremendously but don't envy them. Nobody tells you how much fun it is to grow older.

I realized from my dream yesterday how much a part of me longs to let myself go. I love swimming and dancing, so it won't happen, but the idea of just not putting myself through the wringer to try and attain some impossible ideal of physical perfection is enormously appealing. The idea of just letting myself BE.

My mother, the last night of her life, was pleased when I said how thin she'd gotten. She was dying, and she was glad to be thin.

It's been an intense, productive time--a couple of new essays and some new poems all in the last two weeks. There's more in the pipeline, or rather, scribbled longhand in various journals and books--the beginnings of at least two more new essays, and lines that may coalesce into another new poem or two. Plus the second play needs to be revised--and what's really interested is that I've drawn someone into my life who is very much like the main character. Talk about life imitating art!

I'm excited about getting to all this, so what do I do? Fritter away the morning on Sudoku and stupid internet stuff instead of working. Now I'm confronting a stack of student work a foot high that has to be dealt with before I can in good conscience attend to my own writing.

Why do I waste time like this especially when things are going well? Maybe it's an unconscious way to slow down the flow of good stuff because it's a lot for my psyche to process this much richness. Maybe I'm afraid of piling on too much good too fast because overstimulation could tip me into a depression (it's been known to happen.) I have to respect my body's unconscious attempts to regulate the flood of creative energy even if I'm frustrated by my time-wasting habits and compulsions. Here it is 3:00 and I've just now filed and picked up and cleared off enough to go down to the pool, back to the womb, back to the center of myself.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

Alison, just dropped in again after too long away. I checked out the Andre Breton poem - oh my, how incredible is his language!

As for the second grader - how they refresh us as much as the jeweled words of the poets!

And aging, ah, to be able to do it gracefully, there's the challenge. Your 83-year-old student sounds like she has it down.

Be well, and enjoy your creativity,