Difficult Reading & The Precipice

I have a friend on instagram who posts these lovely, sacred looking photos of her notebook ready to receive writing every morning. I look at them while I’m avoiding my own writing. Yesterday morning I was sitting on my bed with my laptop and stacks and journal and pen and the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head looking at my notes for this poem I’m writing and thought I’d take a picture of that. This is what sacred looks like in these parts. I’m dressed for the next thing I am going to force myself to do (yoga) and have made the important move from under the covers to over the covers.

I’ve been thinking a lot about theories of knowledge, and how the separation of church and state translated to a separation of body and mind and what the ramifications of that have been for people suffering from physical and mental illness and chronic pain. This has required that I read some things that take me to the far edge of my intellect, both academic/scholarly writing and poetry. It has required reading aloud to try to understand and it has required, in some cases, copying down difficult lines to get inside them and figure out what they mean. This is the kind of thing I love. It is also the kind of thing I loathe, because there is a lazy lazy part of me that wants only to be entertained. But you don’t get better by staying in your comfort zone, and I can feel myself standing on the precipice of something that’s about to click, which is my favorite feeling ever, but also a little like walking around half tensed for I’m-not-sure-what. All I can do is read and read and show up to my computer and get enough sleep and make very few plans so that I’m ready when it arrives.

One of the most rigorous, stunning, beautiful poets I know, Cynthia Dewi Oka has a new book out, and I’ve been taking it everywhere and reading and reading and reading it. It’s really layered and dense and complex language, heartbreaking and lush and experimental. This book is a text to study. Buy it.Here’s a link.

I always say about Cynthia: when we’re all gone, Cynthia’s voice will remain. To live at the same time as a poet like her is a gift, to have her in my life feels like a blessing.

Our prompt this week is an excerpt from Salvage. “Promised Land: Sonnets for My Mother” is a crown of sonnets. You really ought to read them all, but I want to take this line: “How to hear God’s call…” Actually, your opening line is “To hear God’s call…” finish that phrase and then write thirteen more lines for a total of fourteen.

Also we made this loaf of bread twice this weekend, it was so good and so impossibly easy.

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