I have been wishing for an earthquake. Something to shake me into my senses. As anyone can tell from reading my previous posts or lack of posts. I have been feeling oppressed by my complacency, ekeing through my days, thumbing the pages of books, and tapping emotionless at my manuscript. I have a manuscript. Sometimes, I just have to say it, to remind myself, that yes I do write. I feel like I should get the word WRITER in huge bold print tattooed on the inside of my forearm, so I can never forget.
I abandoned my bike for the winter, and have been walking to work. I like the slowness and the peacefulness of the walks. I need the peace and the ease. I feel like the calm of my walks have helped to peel away some of my layers of anger, and have opened me for the chance to grab at the electricity that is abundant, but invisible.
A few days ago, I went to a poetry reading at a friend’s house, what a breath of fresh air. This reading comes at the time of other writing happenings, it is strange how suddenly things are breaking through the cracks, and surfacing into my view. Last month, my friend Emily and I went to an AROHO, reading event. It was in the West Hills, all women, (of course) and all were older than Emily and I by at least ten to twenty years. Many were married, most had grown children, and were nothing like me. Or I should say, I am nothing like them. Because of my current job I am submersed in the world of married mothers that work from home and craft; this has been killing me. I have nothing against these women, and when I interview them for my work’s blog, I think they are all lovely, but I am nearing forty, I have never been married, no kids, no one taking care of me, I’ve worked shit jobs for money, I struggle to do my craft, I have no support, I have a mother who decided to pick up a heroin habit at the age of 50, and has now become a succesful junkie, and my father lives in a van and joins AA because he is lonely. I don’t have a lot in common with these women. Did I mention, almost forty? Granted it’s three years away, and I don’t even know what that means it just sounds funny. I guess I’m just tired of feeling that to be a mother is the greatest thing in the world, like the only thing worth while for a woman. Shit, why didn’t they just come and get me seven years ago like in Logan’s Run and put me on the merry-go-round of death? I’m blending Logan’s run with Something Wicked this Way Comes, but it’s all the same story, old is worthless, old is a thirty year aged woman, my empty womb is throbbing, and I don’t even want a baby. My ranting diatribe, my current work environment, not bad, not wrong, just disconnected from my heart. Needless to say, I didn’t have much in common with the women at the reading. The writing was strong, female, motherly, and goddess, all wonderful things. We had coffee and scones and quiche. It was all very nice. I read my piece Touch. It is an emotional piece and it makes me cry (even though it is not a polished piece). I’m pretty sensitive, and I am an intense person, people misread me all the time, especially on the stage. A woman hugged me as I was reading, I was not really into that, talk about disrupting the performance; they obviously are not performers. It was all very nice. Then it was over. I was glad I went, but not full. In fact, I didn’t feel like I ate. Thankfully it was only the beginning…
Last week, Jason Mashak posted a link to a review to his most recent book of poetry that was published a few months ago. Sarah, a woman I met through Write Around Portland, just had her second non-fiction book published, and then there was Friday’s reading:
The writers were Derrick Brown, Carrie Seitzinger, Paul Maziar, Matty Byloos, and Trippe Davis. All great writers. It was opposite to the reading in the West Hills, there was no quiche, but there was a cup filled with cigs, and plenty of wine. It was refreshing to hear words that I could relate too. I awoke the next day feeling inspired. Really, what it is about for me is seeing that people are living for their art, that they are not waiting till the family is raised to write, but they are writing now. Derrick Brown is a writer and a publisher, he created Write Bloody publishing and has a good number of writers and artists affiliated and published, and there are a descent number of women. Carrie Seitzinger, who is a part of something they call the Whisper Sessions which is when they have three or more Write Bloody writers in a place, had read that evening. ( Another woman writer Karen Finneyfrock, a powerful poet, did not read this night, but I would definitely go to one of her readings.) Paul, who is a new transplant to Portland, read new work, and Tripp Davis, read some of his work. Derek Brown read from his book Scandalabra, and it ended with Matty Byloos a fiction writer, reading from his book of short stories, Don’t Smell the Floss. Derrick Brown and the writers from Write Bloody Publishing are causing a shake in the poetry world. That necessary earthquake. Write Bloody writers,write publish, and tour. It reminds me that poetry, and that language is necessary for living. Living Now. In these moments. Each writer was very different, but complemented the other. The audience was receptive, and I wish I had been a little more focused and grabbed bits of the language to share as examples of their style, but there will be plenty of opportunities (I hope) to catch some more readings. One amusing aspect of the party, was once the readings were over, was Derrick Brown’s female fan base. I had one girl back me into the corner and talk at me for a good ten minutes as she waited to get a chance to talk with him. She was under the impression that I was friends with him, and she gushed and gushed about the fact that he was the only thing going on in Portland (he doesn’t live here) my favorite line from her was, “Derrick Brown is the Alan Ginsberg of our time!” I don’t think I would call him that, I would say he has his own unique voice. The evidence of Ginsberg was in the house, but as a tatoo on Paul Maziar’s shoulder, as for Derrick Brown, I would say, he is the Derrick Brown of our time. I was suspicious as to whether she had even read Ginsberg, but she was so excited, I didn’t say anything. The whole event reminded me of my days in Chico, getting drunk, and having philosophical debates over methods of acting, writing as a life force, and performing Le Cid in a dirty basement dressed as an ape; why I was an ape in Le Cid, I’m not certain. I kept thinking, yes, right yes, this is what I’m talking about, right here, thank god.
Last night, I wrote two new poems and I’m printing out the pages to Zizkov and finally taking it seriously, it’s done, it’s editing time. The day before the reading, I got good news from my tax return, enough money to buy a ticket to Prague. I have been wanting to return, to finish my book in the place where the story was born, and now it is finally going to happen. I can feel the tremors, and it is all good.
I quote the Cars: Shake it up.