2013 Miscellany: Holiday Stats, Blog News & A New Poem

I made this graph at https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx

Click to enlarge. I made this graph at https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx

Whew! We did it. We made it through the holidays. Here are our stats:

Puzzles completed: 2
Puzzle pieces chewed on by toddler: 7

Movies watched (in their entirety): 1
Movies partially-watched before toddler lost interest: 8

Exposure time required to infect visiting grandmother with Pukapalyse: 31 hours

Plates of holiday cookies baked, frosted and distributed: 4
Baked goods consumed: ∞

Trips to see the lights on Peacock Lane: 1

Biggest regret: Becoming addicted to Candy Crush (damn you Lollipop Goldenstein!)

Biggest achievement: Undecorating the tree & restoring the living room to its usual mess by 10am on New Year’s Day (amazing what one mom can do when another mom watches the toddler!)

Best moment of personal growth: Not freaking out when I couldn’t find the book I was supposed to read for the holiday party at our church’s homeless shelter on Christmas Eve. I remembered the wisdom of my dear storytelling friend, Rev. Melissa Bennett, and just told the story anyway. No one noticed.

Blog News
In blog news, I just found out that someone I don’t know nominated my blog for the 2013 Best of Open Adoption Blogs. It was so cool to read that my writing is helpful to others. Lori Holden recently posted about the value of comments, and if I don’t say it often, your comments teach me so much…thank you!

New Writing
This isn’t much of a blog post, so I will leave you with a new poem. This is the first poem written since I became a mama nearly 18 months ago. Please know that my glee at writing far outweighs the somber subject. It’s raw, but it’s writing. YAY!

Nothing Post-Partum About It

Exhibit A:
I do not work outside the home

What does that even mean?
That I don’t garden?
rake leaves? work for someone else?
But I do
work
for someone else.

The sum of my life is her orbit,
off-kilter, her blue planetary spin,
her debris in heaps encircling my feet

Exhibit B:
I have never given birth.

So maybe I just have
the ordinary blues,
like denim or jazz

Maybe I have unliberated
or refettered myself
because: manacles!
the laundry has them

They rattle down there in the basement,
by the machines
that smell of rot,
stagnant water and
unfinished business

###

What are your holiday stats? Did you survive?

I Used to Be a Poet

The title of this blog has the word “poem” in it because I used to be a poet. Long long ago in a galaxy far far from graduate school, dirty laundry, raisins in the couch or tampons in the heater vent. In that intersection of time and space, I wrote and wrote…because I read and read and read.

Last Sunday night I accompanied a dear friend to a holiday work party. We met a lovely gay man named Butchy. Since my evening had to that point consisted of  pac-man, beer, fruit ninja, shuffleboard, and a lemon drop martini, I confessed that I, too, wrote poems. Long ago. But not anymore. Because: Graduate School. Disarray. Toddlerdom.

Butchy has no children, so naturally he called b-s. He actually said: “That’s no excuse.”

I hit him.

But he’s a guy, so he didn’t notice. Also: lemon drops.

Anyway.

I am still light years away from writing anything like the poems I used to write.

I tried writing this morning. I got as far as “raisins” before I realized there is a very good reason that moms blog instead of poet. Poetry requires a level of creative sustenance (aka READING OTHER POEMS) that doesn’t happen during fourteen consecutive readings of “Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You?”

So while I don’t have a poem of my own to share, here’s one of my favorite poems. I discovered the work of Kansas-born anti-war Oregon poet Bill Stafford when I started college at Willamette in 1992. I have many favorites of his, but this one is on writing…because a little part of my mama brain has suddenly wondered if maybe not-writing is one reason for the feet-dragging slow burn of sadness that has been dogging my heels lately.

An Oregon Message: the first book of Bill's I bought in 1992

An Oregon Message: the first book of Bill’s I found

When I Met My Muse

by William Stafford

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

###

A sort of salvation. That’s what I need. So, tell me: What sustains your creative spirit? How do you nurture creativity in the midst of everyday disarray?