It’s Patriots’ Day in Boston, and it’s the second time since I’ve lived here that the marathon has been disrupted. B has been WFH since Friday, March 13th, and I haven’t been to my internship since February. I am supposed to be working on my independent study project, but I am not making any meaningful progress. I’m not quite sure how to jumpstart that process. My interest in the topic hasn’t diminished, but my ability to focus on reading or writing about the topic certainly has. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow with my motivation newly restored. Stranger things have happened.
It’s the twentieth day of NaPoWriMo, and technically, I have already written close to thirty poems, so it seems to be going well. Today’s prompt focuses on gratitude, and I started messing around with a weird, prosey (or perhaps prosy) gratitude list. I don’t think I will finish that today. I did mess around with some gratitude erasures. (Source texts here and here.)
I had planned to accomplish a lot of other things today, but it looks like I am mostly done doing for the day. This morning I listened to Blind Man’s Zoo by 10,000 Maniacs and remembered how much political music I listened to in college. I also listened to Tigerlily (Natalie Merchant’s first solo album) — a record my friend Katy suggested a few days ago. I am happy with these choices.
I have been a bit under the weather this weekend (a chronic condition, not the virus), but I did manage to draft a response to today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, which challenges us to write a poem based on a walking archive. I haven’t left my apartment in 36 days, so I decided to “dreamwalk” through objects from some of my more recent dreams.
I dream about my grandparents quite often; I process most of my grief while I’m asleep. I am also reading The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa right now, and I feel like some of that imagery made it way into this poem.
I slept for almost 8 hours last night, but I have felt so tired all day. It might be allergies. It might be anxiety. It might be sleep debt. I do feel emotionally drained this week. I talked to my (favorite) aunt, and she still seems pretty sick. (She contracted COVID-19 on a family trip last month.) She’s quarantined in her bedroom, all alone with her childhood stuffed animals, and I am worried about her. I talked to my mom, and even though she and my stepdad seem to be recovering, they don’t have anyone close by who can bring them groceries, toiletries, or medicine, so I am still worried.
I am supposed to be working on the literature review for my independent study on emerging adults in contemporary young adult realistic fiction, but I am finding it impossible to focus on academic writing. This week I am also having a harder time reading in general. My brain feels wobbly.
The NaPoWriMo prompt for today invites us to make an extravagant declaration of love or admiration, which sounds like so much fun. Too much fun for my current mood, maybe. I will file it away for the future.
Today I worked on erasures just to keep my mind loose. I took a break from anger and created an erasure about insomnia, another about sleep deprivation, and then two quick erasures related to grief for a chapbook manuscript I am putting together. The grief poems use these Wikipedia entries as source texts: complicated grief and disenfranchised grief. These may or may not be finished. These may or may not be nothing more than warm-ups. And that’s fine. (I miss you, Jill Hurst-Wahl!)
I listened to the new Dua Lipa album while I was writing. I like it a lot, but so far I don’t like any of the songs as much as I like “New Rules” from her debut album, which is basically the pop song Dorothy Parker would have written if Dorothy Parker wrote pop songs.
Although I have been keeping up with the daily NaPoWriMo prompts, I decided not to write any blog posts over Easter Weekend. Easter celebrates a resurrection (Roman Catholics would say the resurrection), but we cannot rise from the dead without first experiencing grief and loss. The pope spoke about resisting regret and sorrow during his Easter Vigil sermon, and I have also been reflecting on mourning over the past few days. My close friend’s elderly mother died early Saturday morning; L’s mother was 92 and living in an assisted care facility, far away and under quarantine. They tried to say goodbye over FaceTime. I cannot even imagine.
Later on Saturday, I learned that my mom, stepdad, and (favorite) aunt all contracted COVID-19 on a trip they took together in early March. My mom lives on the other side of the country, and my siblings and I quickly realized how difficult it has become to care for someone remotely. Even a simple gesture like having groceries delivered has become nearly impossible. Our family is lucky in that our loved ones seem to be moving toward recovery, but in reality, no one can say for certain what recovery looks like. We can only hope it looks like what we see.
The NaPoWriMo prompt for Sunday allowed me to experiment with a poetic form I had never encountered before: the triolet. It felt like something invented by rich people with too much time on their hands, but it appears to have been invented in medieval times, so probably an ambitious (and impoverished) artist came up with the idea. I don’t really know what to say about the poem I wrote other than I read a lot of science fiction and fairy tales. Also, like, be careful where you keep your baby. Goblins will switch places with it in a heartbeat.
Today’s weather is dark and stormy, and I have been listening to the playlist I made during Hurricane Sandy. It would be perfect if the song “Sandy” from Grease was still available on Spotify.