What a thing. I didn’t really realize it, but I got extremely up up straight up manic on Tuesday, so, so much happiness and love and joy and god and yellow. Then Tuesday night, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time. I didn’t turn on the TV. I read a book and that book may have pushed me over the edge. I’d heard and heard about Aimee Bender, but I’d never read anything. Then I read an online interview. Then I bought the e-book--The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. The writing is magnificently on-point—spare, a woman’s muscle, slightly lyric/lilting bounce thud—and while I was reading it I felt myself learning, learning, I will be a better writer after I read this, after I suck this up, chew it up, take up its blood and shoot it into my arm. But the zero-bone chill of the girl the girl’s mouth the girl looking out through eyes that could be my eyes my own little girl eyes my own little girl brother the things I knew about my mother.

Then Wednesday more mania but so tired so tired with the brain not sleeping my brain swelled up bursting words words words words I will write this I will write this I will write this book and that book and that story and that poem and the ideas and words and phrases and words and characters speaking so loud loud loud and the students lifted me up up such joy in living in being with my lovely hearted girls and boys and and and I came home brain a swirl a pain a hurt my head was very sick. I wanted to write I wanted so badly to write or to read more of the book but I knew if I did that if I did the mouth would swallow me whole and down to the basement crazy snake place of knives so I held on and held on and called Dale he talked me down I took medicine dope a handful of pills called Annette and she read me lovely things, not too dangerous to hear, until I was ready for sleeping but even then the words kept coming and I pushed hard hard against them and fell asleep.

I slept a long time. Was groggy this morning. Am okay so far. Have to hold on. Just called shrink’s office. Will get a call back. This terrible wonderful awful exquisite disease its price is high its joy is higher but the hole the black center of the sucker is always waiting.

~r.

p.s. the glimmer--Blazvox is taking an essay for their next issue.

 
 
I continue to waffle the back and forth to work or not to work to dive headlong or not or yes or no or whistle myself free. The assistant head just emailed me and said my two CNF workshops will go to the new hire and I will be given an intro CW course and keep my readings in CNF and given another humanities course. This is neither surprising nor upsetting. I had so much joy yesterday with my humanities students, so much. I have at this late date figured out how to teach the class, how it should be, how best to reach in and out and give them room to grow. They aren’t so stupid overall, they just need seeds, watering, the most important chance to express themselves, their stories, their concerns and worries their I may or may not want this thing do I don’t I what why how when. This class should be about them, not about the books. If I teach again, we will springboard up up up and out from the books and do our thing the thing we want the thing we need the thing we most must.

This was a boost in arm and spirit, spoke exactly to where I am just now, not exactly clearing the woods but the thought the spur forward perhaps. Should/Must at Medium. It’s a lovely thing pretty with pictures pictures always help why ever graduate from picture books those that cut our teeth why ever grow up too tall to fit in small spaces under the table the Indian tent. If you’re at a crossroads if you’re wondering what to do how to live your life read this please this boosting needle to the heart this giver this vigor.

And this thanks, Alana, how could anyone not love this how could anyone not be touched yes, Rick I realize you will not but what’s lovely is a lovely thing when a soul speaks to a crowd of souls spreads wide his heart so wide you jump right in.

OCD it's love you see to lock and kiss and repeat press repeat

I’m thinking back thinking of reading the swing the sway remember Jenny that glittering thing of our Poetry Mondays remember Rachel I can’t remember their names but that feeling that sharing it wasn’t perfect it wasn’t critique it wasn’t so sophisticated but it mattered the way we felt it mattered the spark of the room it mattered the way we painted cave walls forty thousand years ago the way we learned to speak learned to think learned to reach up and grab stars.

Now, just now it clicked it clicked it clamped itself down adjunct adjunct adjunct adjunct for the joy for the I must be with them I must touch their circuits and wires they must touch mine for that thing that happens best when it happens with surprise when Eve turned away from the reflecting pool and walked toward Adam everything matters when we touch kiss share exchange our social intercourse our innermost our inner must.

So.

~r.

 
 
Today. Today I am one of those tough plastic tube glorious thingys that bounce up and down in front of car dealerships and are happy because nothing no one could do that all day and not be happy. I am bouncing and windy. And yesterday. And last week, the week before that. Red, green, yellow. My brain on red, green, yellow. Orange. My brain on what on how on why on what do I really want, on is there a should? My brain on questions. I am waffling, waffling, sorry, sorry constituents. I did not represent you. I care only about myself, myself. I will become a lobbyist, a lobbyist for myself, for everything I want. But what a waste of time, for I do not know. What I want.

I do not know if I should continue to teach fulltime I do not know if I want to I do not know what my classes will be for the fall I only know they will change and if they change I will change and if I change I may not remain happy but there’s a terrible rub and this is it—teaching being with my students makes me happy can lift me when I’m a down wallow mudded thing so maybe teach adjunct take the pressure off maybe just quit altogether and do nothing but write but will I will I do that what I’ve always wanted except the crazy except the nuts but there’s plenty to do isn’t there in the world in my home town isn’t there plenty plenty to do and I can write write write I know it yes I can write and be happy except except except my students whom I love I do where else can I get them I love the crucible the space of ideas of challenge meh

Should I stay or should I go? The money, it turns out, does not so much matter, which is a mystery to me, how you can take all that money away and be okay thank you, husband, you do things well. Indeed. I’ve been thinking about online classes and tutoring (writing services on this site) mentoring, teaching in prison, teaching please the gods in an MFA low-res program. I’ve been thinking of doing my own workshops, surely there’s a demand for please help me write about myself I need to know what happened. And besides, who would work when they don’t need the money and they would/could/might write the very dickens out of the blessed world what the fuck?

I have two weeks left. Then I can spread my arms across the summer and write and decide and write and ponder these things in my heart. I have taught for ten years. Do I want ten more?

~r.

 
 
So I’ve worked and worked on getting this site going, and I’ve actually enjoyed most of it. Weebly is so, so much easier than Wordpress. Even when things got very stressful and I was on the phone with help/support, I didn’t get upset. And just look at the results! Isn’t it lovely? I have links to all sorts of publications, my books, my CV. I’ve hung out my shingle and will see what happens next—Writing Services.

I have two weeks left of the semester. I can’t wait till it’s over and done and done and over. So many things are going to change. To be different. To be better. Summer is coming.

If you are looking for a wonderful movie, watch Reaching for the Moon. It’s on NETFLIX. I had never heard anything about it, and the blurb on their site is stupid because it doesn’t give you even a HINT at what it’s about. I haven’t researched it yet, but the story is about the years Elizabeth Bishop lived in Brazil. But that’s all I knew—that she lived in Brazil for a few years. I didn’t know anything about her personal life and if this is anywhere close to the truth, then her life was fascinating. Watch this movie!

We have watched the second season of House of Cards. I call it “the evil people.” It is very well-done, very Shakespearean in a way, but it makes you stinky and nasty. It’s like Games of Thrones, but it’s worse in a lot of ways. There’s no gore, but there’s more cruelty somehow.

Loved the ending of Girls this season. Loved how Dunham’s letting them grow up, letting things the change the way they actually would in actual life, well, in this very-thoughtful simulation of life, a girl’s young life. But I must say—I don’t like Dunham’s writing much. It isn’t accomplished. It's very young/self-conscious, which is fine, but I expected more out of someone so gifted at screenwriting and directing. I was also surprised when I read an interview. She is unlike my students, but also like them. Odd language construction--she kept saying “wherein we” and “in which.” I’ve had some students who are hung up on “in which,” but in a tragic way. They think that when you use “which” in writing, you have to always use “in which,” even if the sentence doesn’t make any sense at all with that construction.

Dale and I watched the best thing last night--Forbidden Planet. Absolutely fabulous. I had never seen it, but it was one of Dale’s favorites. So, so good.

I just have to get through the next two weeks. Then, then, then—all good things.

~r.

 

    Rebecca Cook

    I write poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Here I write about thinking, writing, publishing, reading, working, living, and just about everything else. I welcome your comments and questions.

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