Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Jane Eyre

I got home late the other evening from the Icarus Project holistic fair and from watching TARNATION -- has anyone seen that?

I was too tired to reply to X. re: her post about Y.Z. but was thinking of my own scrapes in grad. school w/ professors -- there were two such scrapes -- both near misses (as X.'s w/ Y.Z. was ... ). In one case, I earned a "B" for dodging a bullet w/ a known grad. school predator. I wrote about Willa Cather in his class. In the other at the other school (this is when I became dx'd) I tried to "marry" my professor who was living as a threesome married w/ a mistress. It was MY delusional phase, as he himself pointed out, and in a remarkable way, we actually had a productive teacher/student relationship most of the rest of the time -- w/o ever crossing physical lines. Is there a story there? Maybe THAT's a novel I could write/he could write/WE could write/the women could write. His then-wife wrote her last book about ADD using one-line paragraphs. His now-wife (?) the then-mistress, was one of our most recognized for her small (but clear) talent in short story. And he, J.R., is regarded as "disappeared" by one of his later U of ND students, meaning what, I don't know, "disappeared" from the internet. It wouldn't surprise me if he lives near a beach somewhere -- he would be about 63 today -- but is okay. Our student group were fond of one another, but in a love/social-derision kind of dynamic.

For me, it was about writing (more than romance) no matter what. For them, the peers, who all fared better than I did in the workforce & some of them in publishing (who were not ahead of me aesthetically when we started), it was about crushes on teachers. Bipolar dx is a serious undertaking, one for wh. chemicals are prescribed and that takes you into difficult cultural territory. It's too bad, the writers at the school couldn't place writers-as-writers and writing first then, as I'm fairly convinced our teacher did, even though I had had this unwitting Jane Eyre attack around him.

I'm having troubles w/ writing recently, but not only recently, but in a different way recently. To know which type of writing to pursue & using what venues are the hardest aspects of it. I don't want to write tell-all's, yet I've done a certain amount of that by blogging. Rather than write a book about my true-to-life fables, I write very short weblog entries that encompass whole swaths of time and development and that provoke fear in me to do then I get very little feedback. There's ambivalence, of course, about whether writing for the internet is writing the same way as paper-publishing or juried internet publishing is. But I'll say that I recently had four of the short weblog pieces accepted for journal print by Minnetonka Review, wh. is a new national publication, named for the lake and town where I live.

About the Icarus Project. These are a handful of community activists living in MN (Portland, San Francisco, New York & elsewhere) who are leftist & optimistic about their outcomes (progonoses), though they have this dread dx. The other night there were three topics -- how to navigate in a crisis for the dx'd; how to fill out a directive for hospitalization & find an agent who knows your wishes; and how to handle activist burn-out. I don't go through activist burn-out, but I go through caretaker burn-out from dealing w/ alcoholics & addicts -- fatiguing to contemplate. I am gearing up w/ Alanon to help w/ that. All is rosier when actions are available to take and one takes them (yoga & exercise are other prerogatives), but it doesn't change the fact that "illness" is the theme, even in wellness.

Let me say I didn't think that your (B.'s) greatly encouraging notes to me were what I meant by "stagnant" in our little list. I was trying to say (to the main list) that we moved our depression topic to a much smaller place, and it lost some of its steam -- wh. is true. It was almost that we needed the large list to really give out our ghosts in a charged way.

The Icarus people were asking how poetry works as a business or field -- as I had raised as my topic "internet-related panic" that I go through. Well, it turns out that they go through that, too, and most sensibly try to avoid too much internet communication. (I went home & disabled a handful of weblog entries to address anxiety & shield privacy.) Their symptoms manifest other ways, such as ... (Their confidentiality policy is different from others I have seen elsewhere: It is all right to share content from group but not names.) Community activists & poets "give" and compete at "giving" -- time & energy -- and to be multitudinous as bosses. Poets are self-representing -- isn't it true? -- & work for their names & achievements & rep's & -- (here is something I told them -- beauty in one's 20s is more of a qualifier than sustainable talent).

No comments: