Friday, February 24, 2006

It's Vulnerability Day

Over the past day I've been e-mailing with Jon L. about vulnerability in poems and now I just read this at Teresa's -- and that's not quite the discussion I've been having with Jon, but furthers my belief that outside influences are indeed influencing. I go the astrology route -- but I'm flaky like that.

There's something making poets go ape-shit (well, more ape-shit than normal).

I've been working on my second my manuscript for the past two years (at glacier speed) and as it gets closer to completion, it's clearly turning into something very vulnerable and exposed. That makes sense if I consider that for the past 2 1/2 years I've been feeling the most vulnerable since I was a child. Maybe I've always felt this way but was able to mask it with anger or disgust or sarcasm or whatever. The manuscript isn't autobiographical -- it doesn't mention or allude to my "accident" that started it all -- 2 1/2 years ago -- after being motivated by Dr. Phil to take control over my life -- I put on my cute Diesel sneakers (instead of my Nike cross-trainers) and decided to take a long power walk. About a quarter mile from my house I saw a woman pushing her baby on a swing, distracted I didn't notice there was a LEAF on the path -- I slipped and fell, hit my head very hard, fractured my elbow and sprained my ankle. I'd never broke a bone before. I didn't realize I had. As I hobbled back home (a minor triumph considering how hurt I was) I heard a strange voice -- it took me almost a minute before I realized the voice was my OWN. I was muttering -- unintentionally, unconsciously, in agony. That was kind of freaky -- and later both TB and Chris confirmed that when I'm angry I sometimes mutter to myself -- spooky . . .

Anyhow, it's good I had my accident, because not only did it beckon a whole slew of incidents drawing out my newly vulnerable sensibility (hello pregnancy in the ninth month and newborn baby) -- it's also how I discovered poetry blogs. Trapped on my sofa, barely able to type, unable to bead, unable to walk -- I found Gabe Gudding's after recently reading In Defense of Poetry and was intrigued. He posted something that I considered a "black list" of sorts (a claim he refuted) and I e-mailed him about it. And there, I had a discussion with another poet and it wasn't some ass-kissing "Oh I really loved your book" e-mail. I kind of chided him -- something I probably wouldn't have done if his blog didn't make himself vulnerable to such a thing. Sidenote: I met Gabe for the first time last summer and I asked him what he thought of my e-mail and he confirmed my suspicions: "I thought you were fucking nuts!"

I don't think I'm that different from most -- I come from a position that views vulnerability as weakness and who the hell wants to be weak? Now I'm hearing Patrick Swayze say "Can you see the fear?" -- at least I hope that's his voice and not my own.

But I'm reconsidering that -- especially in writing, but in other aspects as well. I think vulnerability can lead to openness and strength and I'm rethinking many of my new poems in a different way. And this blog is an exercise in vulnerability -- and sometimes it makes me cringe and some days I think I should hang it up and better use the time pushing Gideon into manhood by making him drink from that damn sippy cup.

The doctor gave a schedule and you're behind on everything. Chop chop!


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