I don't know how clear it is what I'm actually doing these days -- it's a fairly chaotic mix of writing stuff for money, writing other things, trying to get better about sending stories out, temping, learning FrameMaker, waiting for this tech writing gig to happen, etc. So today, I had a one-day temp assignment...it was supposed to be two, but I finished the work in one, so no job tomorrow. :( Not much I could do about it; I *could* have stretched the work out to two days, but I would have been bored stiff. It was a weird assignment...instead of the moderately technical executive secretarial stuff I usually do (which is harder than it looks, and actually takes some skills), today I filled in on a clerical assignment. It was all they had, and was better than not working, since money is tight right now, but it's been a while since I did that kind of thing. I spent most of the day counting. The company (which makes magnets, of all things), needed several boxes inventoried, so it was a fair bit of pretty tedious unpacking, sorting, counting, repacking. And I caught myself reminding myself that I don't really do this for a living, and I have two degrees, dammit, and so on and so forth. I had to resist the urge to explain to my boss that I was really pretty overqualified for this job -- as if he cared! *sigh* I will be *so* happy when I am once again working close to full-time at something that I can take seriously. Today just felt so wasteful...
(On the other hand, part of me is re-reading the above and saying, boy, you sound arrogant. You were damn glad to get the work, after all...)
Anyway. It sounds worse than it was; I'm tired, and my neck and shoulders hurt from all the bending over, but it actually went pretty quickly. And I *am* glad I got it done and don't have to go back there tomorrow.
Read some Sharon Olds poems this morning; Jed had loaned me a book, and I read them on the train. Really good...so rich that I closed the book after three poems; I don't want to race through these. I'll pick my favorites once I have read through and put one or two up here for y'all.
Lessee -- other reading. Well, I'm quickly reading through Nancy Kress's new book on character (that Leah's Mike loaned me). Nothing tremendously new so far, though it's interesting to see laid out consciously some things that I've known subconsciously. That's a lot of what Clarion did, and it's clearly helped my writing, so I'm going to finish the book, and perhaps some stuff will seep in. I think it would be a very helpful book to a new writer.
Also reading through LeGuin's _Steering the Craft_, which I think would be more helpful to a writing teacher than to an individual writer, though it's a little hard to say. Also reading her essays in _Dancing on the Edge of the World_; I like those better. Interestingly, this year, both Kevin and I (independently) started reading a lot more nonfiction. Not that I don't still love fiction (I spent a while in the bookstore at lunch reading Pratchett's _Interesting Times_), but nonfiction interests me more these days. Not sure why, but the list of books I want to get and read are almost entirely nonfiction right now. Strange.
Okay, I can't resist, here's a Sharon Olds poem, a lovely one.
First Sex(for J.)
I knew little, and what I knew
I did not believe -- they had lied to me
so many times, so I just took it as it
came, his naked body on the sheet,
the tiny hairs curling on his legs like
fine, gold shells, his sex
harder and harder under my palm
and yet not hard as a rock his face cocked
back as if in terror, the sweat
jumping out of his pores like sudden
trails from the tiny snails when his knees
locked with little clicks and under my
hand he gathered and shook and the actual
flood like milk came out of his body, I
saw it glow on his belly, all they had
said and more, I rubbed it into my
hands like lotion, I signed on for the duration.
She rocks, huh? That's from her book, _The Gold Cell_.
She makes me want to write. There are so few authors who pull that from me -- I don't know why. Anne Sexton is one; it was because of her Sleeping Beauty poem that I started writing as an adult. Sometimes Henry Miller. It's something about the way they use language, I think.
I paused, and wrote a first time poem. I'll post it below in a moment...but it made me think. I wonder if her poem, or mine, will evoke in any of you an urge to write. I would love to read first time poems from any of you reading this journal this week. Or any poem in response to hers or mine. If you write something, send it to me? And if you want, I'll gladly post them here, with or without your name, as you prefer. That would be very neat.
In any case, here's a poem, and I'm off to bed. Sleep well, my dears.
First TimeWas it when a neighborhood boy,
gangly and gawkish, asked if he could
kiss me, in the basement? It was summer,
thick and heavy, and I didn't know
what to say but 'yes'. And though it was
a terrible kiss, later I let him unbutton
my shirt; I let him touch my bra, my breasts.
They were so much larger than he'd expected,
and I didn't know whether to be pleased
or embarrassed. And when he asked me
to rub him through his jeans, I said 'yes',
and when he asked me to rub him naked,
I invented an imaginary boyfriend, so he
would go away. He did. When another
neighborhood boy, younger, asked me
to touch him, I was surprised, and then
this boy said, "But you did it with him..."
I think I was angry; it's hard to remember.
When he, the first one, died a few summers later,
I was angry, and sad, and wished I felt more
than I did. But, as my parents warned,
it could have been much worse.
Later, it would be. And much better.
Still, I remember him.
(author's note: it was harder to be honest with that one than I expected. I suppose I still have mixed feelings there.)