Tremors.

13 Aug

The strangest day came upon me yesterday. An enormous storm rolled into DC, including flash floods, lots of falling trees, and a day-long power outage in our neighborhood (other neighborhoods, mainly in the suburbs, have longer outages in store).

The good news is I had time left on my laptop battery, so I actually worked on my manuscript for four hours or so. It’s due Sunday, so that needed to happen.

The interesting news? I stumbled over an emotional rift I hadn’t expected. A rift, I managed to suss out, totally exposed – and potentially worsened – by the process of compiling and editing my manuscript definitively.

Why, I don’t quite know. Storms do bring out, yeah, elemental emotions in me, so it isn’t really a shock. But I had no idea working on a book would be internally difficult in this way. Let’s talk about some of the reasons this might be that I’ve come up with so far. The list:

1. The intensity of revisiting potent emotional landscapes, be they fiction or fact.

2. The pressure of having, for the first time, truly finished poems.

3. The inability to carry success with grace and forward looking – as opposed to guilt, self-sabotage and an overwhelming feeling of unworthiness.

4. The stress of the most serious deadline of my life to date.

5. My not having an entirely grounded space of my own.

Now let’s talk through each one (excuse me, therapy definitely affected my brainscape).

1. Those moments are potentially static. I can choose to visit someone’s grave, to tell someone I still love him, to perpetuate a difficult mystique of myself I harbor in my own mind, or to put off, or to let go. It doesn’t make my situation simple, but I don’t have to tackle every aspect of my life challenges right now.

2. Most writers hate their first books. This will probably happen to me, in some fashion. Poems rarely feel totally finished, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t gain a lot from reading them, or that I can’t gain a lot from sharing.

3. I know I’ve earned this. The year has been fucking overwhelming; a lot of great things came to me in a very short period of time. But I’ve been writing and performing since I was a child. So what if I see where I could still grow? That’s a good thing. That means I’m not finished. That’s what living people do.

4. I will get it done. It’s done enough right now. But I will get it finished.

5. I’ve decided I want to fight for the Chicago space I see in my head, the one I want. I’m not going to be bitter if it isn’t exactly right, or if it doesn’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, I’d like to try to stay in Chi anyway, and see a full year through. There’s potential in me and my housemates that I don’t think we’ve truly grasped as a whole, and I want to see that through. I chose to live with these poets for good reason. I also haven’t addressed the city itself as fully as I mean to, although knowing the extent of my introversion, I likely won’t ever be satisfied in this regard.

Yesterday was literally a dark day. But you know the adage. I’m glad I came to DC, for my sister’s birthday, yes, to see my family, yes, but also to be somewhere familiar, to take enough space from the questions in my head so I could get a moment to answer them. To give me a buffer between a few of the demons. This must be one of the main reasons I’m compelled to travel so much, and to love so many people.

*shrugs* I’m ready, y’all. My draft is due on Sunday. It’s going to be a book worth reading. And rereading. This much I can promise. ❤

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4 Responses to “Tremors.”

  1. Ben August 14, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    I am really, really looking forward to your book Laura. You are easily one of the most fascinating, intelligent, beautiful individuals I have been fortunate enough to meet here in Chicago, and I can only see you improving as a writer with another year at the Real Talk table.
    Good luck the rest of this weekend.
    b

    • Laura Yes Yes August 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

      Thank you, Ben. I’m really looking forward to yours. ❤

  2. Keith S. Wilson August 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Working on an MS is hard. Harder than anything else I’ve ever tried to do in poetry, to the point that it’s overwhelming and difficult even to force myself to do.

    I can’t tell if your deadline is a personal one, or one where an editor is expecting a book because it’s gonna get published, but whatever the case may be, let us (me) know when there is a book to buy.

    • Laura Yes Yes August 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

      The book’s due out in September, Keith, thanks for asking. I will let you know. And thank you for feeling me on the messy-ass giving-birth part. blahhhh.

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