Archive | April, 2011

Creeps the Ground & Leaps & Bounds.

26 Apr

The last week or so, I’ve watched the minute hand making its course, trying to take the changes in my body in stride, writing poems and wasting away online, not quite able to tackle business with much gusto at all. That definitely changed a moment ago.

I just found out my press has nominated me for next year’s National Book Award. I’m stunned, and very happy.

I’m not, however, under any illusion that I will win. I’m not being self-deprecating, I promise. If you look at the list of poets who’ve won in past years, they tend to be writers in the middle of their careers (or later), who’ve already published many books (hence all the “new & selected” or “collected” titles), published poems in many journals, and spent a lot of time in the academy.

No illusions: me winning this particular award would be akin to Harold Bloom winning a national poetry slam (only I’m not as much of a hater).

I’m happy, though, because Write Bloody has that kind of faith in me, that they believe in my writing enough that they’d submit me for such an amazing prize. And you know what? It motivated me to get back to work: if they’re doing everything they can to help me to make a living as an artist, I need to be doing even more. And maybe one day I will be good enough for that li’l ole prize. 😉

Dirty Thirty.

25 Apr

Long time no talk, folks. Some of you may know I turned thirty on Wednesday, and I decided to let it all hang out. According to the Roger Bonair-Agard school of partying, the thirtieth birthday girl gets two weeks to celebrate herself (weeks stack as decades do), so I took him at his word. My folks came into town and I cooked them dinner, I bought myself my second-favorite video game and played a lot of it, I wrote poems and listened to Kanye, I had friends come over and read their poems, I co-hosted a very strong Real Talk Live, I got a million love notes, went out a lot, drank a lot, and engaged in general mischief.

Turning twenty was the first time I really considered what being a woman meant to me. What kind of person I was interested in becoming, essentially. Thirty has brought its own introspection, and I’m excited about some of the changes I’m making. My primary goal is to take better care of my health.

About a month ago, I was freaking out because of health concerns, and I called Sonya Renee. Recently, Sonya founded the very cool FB group, The Body Is Not An Apology, and she’s been an outspoken advocate for sexual and emotional health. She is also an amazing friend, and I knew I could talk to her honestly about my worries without judgment. She calmed me down, and helped me to think carefully and specifically about some of the choices I’ve been making, and ways I might modify my behaviors. Here are a few, amigos.

Getting Tested. This was the first thing I did. If you’ve recently changed partners or had unprotected sex, you should, too.

Quit Smoking. This is huge, obviously. I’d been planning to quit on my thirtieth birthday for years now. My dad did it, so that helped me to remind myself that it’s possible. Living up to this promise I’d made myself was very important to me, and so far it’s okay. It’s been five days now. There have been some surprisingly crazy moments emotionally, like sobbing hard after finishing my last cigarette, and my mind sometimes doing its damndest to justify having a drag, but I’m finally beginning to cough things up, which means my cilia have begun working again.

Distance Drinking. Given my almost compulsive excess in this area, taking a very solid break is crucial to my health – especially to my emotional stability. I’ve had my birthday fun for now, so I’ve decided to stop drinking until our house birthday celebration (also known as Running of the Bulls) on May 7th.

Cleansing. I spoke to Patrick about this one, because he’s subjected his body to a lot of extremes, healthwise, and he knows a lot about different fasts’ effects on the body. For the next week, I’m doing a pretty basic cleanse to encourage the toxins to move out of my body. I’m cutting out wheat and sugar for the week after.

Exercise. The main thing, for now, is using my ab wheel. I have chronic back issues, so fixing my core up is necessary. If I can begin to do this regularly, I’ll build from there.

Sleep. I started taking melatonin at night to help with my insomnia. I took to drinking heavily partly as a form of self-medicating this problem (ironically, because alcohol disrupts sleep cycles, and can even permanently damage a person’s ability to obtain restful sleep). Melatonin’s one of the only supplements that’s reliably helped me in the past.

Misc. Chas helped me to think about this one. He said I should consider calculating the amount of money I spend on viceful things (cigarettes and booze, namely), and spend that chunk of money on things that are actually good for me. Right now the system is pretty haphazard (I want to see how I feel about drinking after May 7th), but I like the idea of spending some of that money on a martial arts class.

That’s about it. Beyond that, I’m trying to pay more attention, in general, to what my body wants. I’m trying to be better at listening to my heart and being honest. And I’m committed to being gentle with myself. I’m pretty awesome, after all.