College is nearly done. I am sad in some ways and relieved in others. I absolutely adore having access to all those books on writing craft and a humongous collection of poetry. One can always find a library packed full of fiction and nonfiction, but not stacks upon stacks of poetry and writing craft books. Alas my college library is just for active students. I will be sad not to have a few weeks a year for writing retreat. It’s amazingly inspiring and instructive. Stimulating too. I really must find ways to replace that. There are some local writing communities, but it’s not the same academic focus. That other focus makes things far more stimulating. I will miss the people and the conversations. Groups of brilliant, diverse college students of all ages talking issues, literature and transformation is incredibly stimulating. I have never found such a group anywhere else. I have learned as much from them as I have learned from the faculty. I will miss the pressure to perform. It helps me follow through to have deadlines upon which thousands of dollars depends. Either I do it, or waste that debt I’m accumulating. I made a book because of that. It’s not a great book, but it’s a book. My fourth and it’s the best one so far.
What I will not miss is the pressure to perform. I want to find out what my writing practice is like now without anyone pushing me. I have had fingers in my literary pie, for good reason, for two years. What will it be like now? And will I have enough stimulation to keep my momentum going? Will any of the connections I’ve made in college survive the lack of face time that will happen now? If I write a book, any kind of book, it will be because I wanted to make it passionately and I followed through. No deadlines, no push. It is freeing to have that spaciousness…and boy do I have a book on the burner.
I will also not miss going over this student manuscript. My topics for this poetry project were cancer, healing meditation, intergenerational trauma and self-esteem/image. It’s a story. Both happy and sad. Revising it has caused some turmoil. It’s rather like mucking out a shit stall over and over again. You’re bound to have some of that shit stick to you after you’re done. It’s been a struggle to keep my chin up reading that stuff over and again. Letting it rest will be a good idea. At some point, I intend to share some of it with my family. It could be very healing. Even if it’s a shit storm, speaking up can be empowering. It is using my voice to tell the truth, even if I am disowned. Truth is not always popular. People love their illusions. It makes them feel safe.
Thus, the last week to go before I walk the aisle toward my diploma. I have a senior presentation to organize, a discussion for the incoming students about time management, and a house to get ready for my son and his gf to hang out in for easy access to see my graduation and presentation. Sounds like a nice winding down. Hopefully there’s no last-minute push for more revision. I did radically change a few poems before I submitted my manuscript. They may want me to work on that more. Oy! I hope not.