Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's gray and cold--feels like fall is settling in. The persimmons are ripening on the tree out back; in front, the figs feel cold and hard. It's a time of major change and transition for so many people in my life right now--often difficult changes, griefs, death, divorce. I'm in the middle of a huge change too, as C and I discuss plans for his move-in, to start this weekend. A joyous transition, but a transition none theless, with its attendant anxiety and ground-shifting-under-my feet feeling.

I know we can hurt each other. We can betray each other, devastate each other, enrapture, enrage, encourage, inspire, and comfort each other. I can feel the process of attachment in my body, the part of me that has come to seek his lanky body and his long arms with their musician's fingers, the look in his eye when he looks in my face, the thrilling nakedness of intimacy balanced against the need to keep being a grown-up and not drop any of the balls I've worked so hard to juggle.

Today I'm a little headachey and hungover from computer-bingeing--long hours yesterday and the day before, getting the latest iteration of See How We Almost Fly ready to send out to the next round of contests, and starting work on another one-act play. I've addressed envelopes, SASE's, and written checks for ten contests and open reading periods, all over the country, purged the manuscript down to a lean mean 63 pages of poetry, and done last-minute revisions on some of the poems. Now it's down to the copy shop on Grand Ave., the one with the best prices where I know the Indian family who runs it by name, and then on to the post office where I send my words out onto the wind.

The total cost of this effort will run something over $300.00--money well spent, my friend Carla tells me, an investment--and that's just this time around. I've been sending the ms. out like this once, twice, three times a year for the past five or six years. (My father, the loveliest man in the world, but not the most patient, said on the phone Saturday, "When is that book going to get published? Why don't you send it to the publishers who do Mary Oliver?" Good idea, Dad, why didn't I think of that?)

The fact is, the system of competing with 600 other aspiring poets to get a book published is humiliating, time-consuming and expensive, but there just aren't that many other outlets. Because poetry doesn't pay for itself, most small presses who publish it have resorted to this contest-entry-fee mode of soliciting manuscripts. SHWAF was a finalist in the Akron contest--it's been a finalist a few times, actually--but not yet a bride. So it's down to the copy shop again.

As for the play, I have five pages. Don't know if they are any good or not. The concept is fertile, but I don't really know the characters yet, or what they want from each other. I have to trust the process; also my brilliant, opinionated friends who will let me know what's working and what isn't.

Monday night I went to The Marsh in San Francisco, and saw my friend Colleen Tani Nakamoto perform her short one-woman piece "Soft Tissue" about her journey through vaginismus. It was such a courageous, graceful, poignant, funny, heartbreaking performance. She really pulled it off, with tremendous love and skill. Everyone reading this blog who lives in the S.F. Bay Area, go to the repeat of this show on October 1st, 7:30, at The Marsh, which is on Valencia and 21st or 22nd, in the Mission, and cheer her, and the other women solo performers on.

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