Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poetry Reading at Bunnell Tonight; Figs and Cream

Where I'll be tonight: at the Bunnell St Gallery, to hear my friends and much-admired fellow-poets Erin Coughlin Hollowell and Linda Martin. See Erin's post for full details. Phil is coming too, and so are his nephew and his girlfriend. Any of you Homerites reading this, I urge you to go too.

Both Erin and Linda are graduates of the same MFA program on which I'm about to embark: the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Together with Mercedes Harness and Debi Poore, they are wonderful teachers and fellow-travelers for me. We are just starting to meet up as a group and critique each other's work, and discuss other books, and I am bottomlessly grateful for it. By undertaking a low-residency MFA, I'm missing out on the intense peer-to-peer interaction of being in school full-time. Getting to interact with these wonderful poets right in the place where I happen to live is more than compensation.
 Between guests, work, the garden, the approaching wedding and preparing for the MFA residency, I feel like I am being stretched on a rapidly moving wheel, each extremity pulled away from the other, like the skin of a drum. I pray to become more like that drum-skin, with a taut and definite center: at this point, my center is ill-defined and discombobulated. The ever-present subtext of trying to figure out how I fit with my surroundings, and how to incorporate my surroundings, specifically food, into my body, also continues to distract and puzzle me.

On the other hand, the sun has been shining for three days straight now and I feel my spirit rising to it. And when I stayed home to write while the rest of the gang went off on one of my favorite hikes, I realized that the sense of gladness that I felt over staying home to write was greater than my chagrin at missing out.

Last week, one of the markets here in town had fresh figs for the first time this year! When I saw them, I almost teared up from all the memories of harvesting my own in the California days. I ate one as soon as I'd paid for my basket, and it was just perfect.

We had a dinner gathering that night, so I made a cream from cashews, young coconut meat, irish moss gel, xylitol and lots of vanilla powder, and bathed the figs in it.
I love their expansive secrecy, their sweet fecundity.

When you miss out on an activity in order to do something more important to you, do you feel sad or glad?