Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Poetry Festival

First of all, let me put on my mommy hat and tell you that The Kid's urine sample from yesterday did have blood cells in it. They've sent it off to the lab to find out exactly how many and when we know that, we'll figure out what to do next. I am repeating this sentence to myself: I am not freaking out about The Kid's pee. I am not freaking out about The Kid's pee. I am not freaking out about The Kid's pee. Takes off mommy hat, also known as Braves baseball cap.

And now, I don my writer hat which is the big brimmed straw hat from my wedding. Very stylish with just a touch of whimsy. For two years in a row I went to this lovely little, but growing, poetry festival. It was great fun, staying in a room all by myself and listening to some positively amazing poets read and talk about their work, watching the cool kids from the Michener Center at UT hang out and smoke cigarettes. I got a huge amount of satisfaction out of being a poet at a poetry festival, thinking about poetry and not a whole lot else for two full days. What I did not do during those two glorious weekends was write. Other than scribbling things like this in my journal: I'm sitting at the same table as Carolyn Forché!! Gack!

There's a really social element to the weekend which is not my strongest suit. I don't really like making small talk with people I know well, let alone someone I just met over a plastic cup of pinot. There are group dinners that leave me feeling shy and dorky and tongue-tied. There are people and readings and seminars all day long, and all of that plus no down time leaves me a little grumpy and over-stimulated. I am polite to the people who write poetry for a living. I turn off my cell phone during readings and do not walk around pressing copies of my latest manuscript into other people's hands.

I miss Lefty and The Kid terribly on the first night. I feel miserable and lonely and want desperately to go home. The second night is always a lot more fun.

Last year, I did not go to the festival. I decided to take a short writing course instead. I wrote and wrote and in just six weeks learned great wads of stuff and wrote some new poems and got all inspired and bought a desk for myself. I felt that taking the course did more for my writing than going to the festival ever had. So yesterday when the flyer for the festival came in the mail, I nearly threw it out. But then I didn't. I don't have a course lined up to take this spring. I could afford to go, but it would take some saving. Part of me would like the weekend away. And part of me thinks that if I'm going to spend any money, it should be to go somewhere and write, not listen to people talk about writing, which is a lot like reading about writing, it's all well and good, except that you're not writing, you're doing this other thing instead.

I'm going to leave the flyer on my desk for awhile and think about it.


  1. I think that is wise. It depends on what you need more-the time or the inspiration.

    Sending healthy vibes.

  2. You could still have a weekend away--pick a nice spot, go there, and write, write, write.

    I'm thinking positive thoughts about The Kid.