2. My new blender.
3. All the sweet and savory green smoothies I make in the new blender.
4. That I’m eating more greens than I ever have before.
5. A dear friend relocating to (or very close to) my hometown. I don’t know what it means except that you never know what’s going to happen—it’s both circular and unexpected.
6. Poet Mary Ruefle’s erasures.
7. Trying erasure myself.
8. This line from poet Michael Dickman: None of my friends wrote novels or plays, from the lives of my friends came their lives.
9. That I started a new essay/section of my memoir (which I’m too nervous to actually call a Memoir because that would imply a Book, and in a genre that’s forever under criticism and which implies something bigger than an essay or a section, and which sounds like a thing that I could go on writing forever, a project w/no end. So a new essay. That’s what I started today.).
10. That I successfully memorized a poem (“Witchgrass,” by Louise Gluck). In grad school I had to attempt this twice for two different classes and failed miserably (I only remember a couple of phrases, “lay on it like a divan” from Sexton’s “Nude Swim,” and “always wrong to the light” from Frost’s “For Once, Then, Something.” Why do I remember just those lines?). Looking back, I think I was just really depressed and thus handicapped in the realm of mental exercise.
11. That I’m not depressed anymore. I mean, I get funky, like anyone, and hit rough patches, but not like before. I love not-depression. Its opposite is a horrible horrible thing. When I think about that time (a stretch of about four years, longer than that ago), it’s like I’m looking back on the life of an old friend, feeling so glad and in awe that she survived it.
12. Letters and the Letters to Each Other Project on The Rumpus. I haven’t gotten any letters back in response from my letter, but I’ve responded to (a) Darlene in Vermont who is 66 and writes science fiction and fantasy, and writes it well, (b) a woman in Colorado Springs who is an excited first-time home owner and is also creeped out by the town’s annual infestation of Miller Moths, and (c) Melanie who lives in Brooklyn and is currently in love (people in love should write a lot of letters…).
13. Dreams about Martin Sheen: I have been perusing old journals, and the best thing I’ve come across is a dream I had back in 2003 (at the time, I was clawing my way out of the end of the worst of a depressive episode): Martin Sheen was my father, and we were at a dinner party (there was a woman weeping sitting across from me because her adoption of a girl had fallen through) and Martin was standing nearby next to a stereo, air-conducting the classical music coming out of its speakers, an index finger acting as baton, like he could not be enjoying life more. He turned to me and winked and said, through that grin of his: “It’s all you, kiddo.”
14. The little book of words I keep and carry with me in my purse. Some I include for the sound, some for the weight their meaning carries paired with the sound, some I like because of the word they are next to in the list. Here are some: linden, monster, piano bar, streetlight, garbage, apology.
16. Notebooks from Japan and Korea with bizarre, tacky, wondrous translations on the cover, like these on my pocket pad (which is succinctly title “Red”): (1) The tomato is round. (2) The post is over there. (3) Red pepper is hot. (4) Sunset is beautiful. (5) The ladybird is small. (6) This paprika is vivid. (7) The red signal means stop. (8) The apple is delicious. (9) I bought two goldfishes. (10) Gather roses while you may.
18. Writing postcards.
19. The magic sauce that I put on everything. In a blender, put:
1/2 cup water
15 oz tofu (cut roughly into cubes)
5 TB capers
2-4 TB fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup raw cashews + 2/3 cup water
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp herb salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
20. My $4.00 one-pound bag of organic braising greens that I get at the farmer’s market every Saturday morning. These greens, cooked/steamed/braised, with the above magic sauce.
21. Getting rid of clothes.
22. Starting over.
23. Taking breaks.
24. This amazing recording of Edna St. Vincent Millay reading “I Shall Forget You Presently, My Dear.”
25. Air conditioning.
26. This scene from An American in Paris…in which Gene Kelly [a.k.a. Jerry Mulligan] does deceptively ordinary movements to start his day (and, please, whoever designed that set, please come to my small studio and do your magic).
27. This excerpt from Jeffrey Skinner’s The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets:
The very best thing a poet can do is to be born rich, with genes wired for long life. If you can’t manage both money and genes, go for the long genes. If you’ve been blessed with neither, marry a doctor and write fast.
28. And this one:
Attention to one’s list of accomplishments is, in the end, attention diverted from the effort to make better poems. In fact, obsession with honors is *corrosive* to the poem-making effort.
29. This tumblr page: “Lines We Live By.”
30. Trying. I got a tiny bit of money when my grandmother passed away, at a time when I was pretty broke. I decided to use some of the money to take a TV writing class online. I’d been thinking that maybe it was something I was meant for. I loved the idea of a Writer’s Room. The long hours with a group of Creative People working together to make people laugh appealed to me. And, well, I love TV (oh the freedom to say such a thing!). The class was okay, the process was fun (I wrote a script for an episode of Studio 60, a show I loved) but that’s all it amounted to. It wasn’t really fun. It was tedious. The experience did not glow with a sense of fate or destiny. By the time the six-week class ended, my desire to become a famous and overworked TV writer dissipated. I wasn’t sad or disappointed; I’d enjoyed myself and also got to have this question answered for myself. Not everyone gets the chance to have answers. We can daydream for years about being this or that, doing this or that, but once you actually try the thing itself, everything changes—it becomes clear pretty quickly whether the dream is just a dream, or a very important door that a person needs to walk through. So I got back to writing poems and other things, and I love it here.