Confessions From The Rocking Chair

In Coping, marathon, poetry, running, scary clowns, working mother on April 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Hello my dear little bloglets.  I have not forgotten you (though perhaps I have forgotten myself).  I have just been getting-up-at-4-am-to-work-busy and eating-cookies-as-coping mechanism-busy (though I must say I have lost 8 pounds since Christmas and just tonight bought a size small dress at Loblaws, which is the only place I have time to shop at because it is the closest grocery store to our house, and I had to buy bus tickets anyway after Anja’s swimming lessons – you know how it is.  I don’t know if the size small from Loblaws really counts, because it tends to be sized larger than, say, Jacob, but there you go.  Kirk doesn’t get that I am annoyed he has lost 25 pounds since the beginning of his parental leave and looks rather fetching.  I want to look that fetching too, and running 29 km in one day doesn’t count if you follow said run with a slice of caramel pecan cheesecake the size of Texas two days later).  I should be working or sleeping right now, but I’ve missed you.

I’m doing a lot of consulting writing and editing right now, and because I’m so new at it, I’m finding I consistently have underbid myself, so am working at, say, $5/hour.  Things just take a wee bit longer when you care what you’re doing, I guess.  Plus, I have those pesky students still to deal with, though things may be looking up on that front as I am getting tapped for all the fun, really academic courses in the summer/fall, which makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up in glee (yes, they can do that).

Still, I am missing my kids and thinking is working so hard worth it?  True, we need the money, and the intent was to build a little business so I can spend more time with them, but I forget this little business is on top of a demanding teaching job and trying to write poetry (fallen by the wayside this week). 

This brings me to the title of the post.  Aksel has, since last we spoke, slept through from 7 pm to 5 am once, and he is now either not waking up at all between 10-5 or just once.  So, I feel a little less guilty admitting that I really, really like rocking him to sleep.  I know, I know, all those militant and not-so-militant baby sleep books say that if you rock your baby to sleep, naturally he will expect to be rocked to sleep every time he wakes up.  This doesn’t so much seem the case with Aksel now; it’s more that he wakes up in the dark and doesn’t know where Kirk and I are or perhaps can hear Anja rustling about across the room but can’t see her. 

I love how his hands settle themselves by finding bits of my skin.  I love his big sigh right before he falls asleep.  I love how quiet the room is.  I like the smell of his head.  I like the twenty or so minutes of utter connection and contentment between the two of us.  I like looking at his face and body when they are still (which they are very rarely these days – he is, frankly, into everything).  I like that when I lay him down, he loves being on his tummy with his bum up in the air.  I like that he stays asleep (Anja never, ever did) when I tip toe out of the room  (momentary interruption: the cat was standing in front of my computer screen trying to lay on the keyboard, so I picked him up and threw him off, not realizing I threw him directly on the dog’s head.  Both survived.)

It is the most blissful moment of my day, I say like an Angelically Content Real Mother. 

That being said, the second most blissful moment is when I shut the door and the real party begins.  Breakin’ out the white chocolate chips, baby!

P.S.  I didn’t get the job (see what I just did?  I just linked to a previous post.  How tech savvy am I!!!)

P.S. II  The Scary Clown Phenomenon seems to have passed.  I’m not getting quite the hits I once did.  Let’s change that, shall we?

P.S. III Super secret news!  I’m thinking of “going pro” with the blog – complete site design overhaul.  I filled out a survey at work for $50 today – I’m a quarter of the way there for funds!  Ooooooooooooo.

P.S. IV.  It’s clear I must go to sleep now, for a 4 am alarm calls again and I am getting punch-drunk.


Women Doing Literary Things

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2011 at 7:03 am

Ahem – check out my essay in praise of “domestic writing” published today at

What I Mean When I Say I Write Poetry

In poetry on March 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Through the help of a very wise woman, I have recently come to realize that I am, in fact, envious of Kirk’s career (as if you, dear reader, hadn’t figured that out by now).  He does get to be the star when meeting new people (“What do you do?… Oh really?”).  Then said person turns to me and asks what I do.  I tend to stumble around a bit on the answer.  “Oh, I teach college.  No, not really English.  Basic communications…I freelance edit and write a bit.  But really, I write creatively, too.  A bit.” 

“Oh,” says New Person hopefully.  “Novels?”

“Err. Agh.  Well, no, not really. Poetry.”

Silence.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Look of glazed confusion entering New Person’s eyes.  Then, New Person recovers composure.

“Oh, really,” says New Person in a very different tone than when Kirk’s career is unveiled.  “Good for you.”

And so New Person moves on, and I end up feeling like a wee and generally a non-productive member of society. 

I have had a tendency to get offended by this reaction until I realized, during my conversation with my wise woman, that people are not meaning to be offensive – they honestly might just not know what a contemporary poet can write. 

Of course they don’t know.  They may have gone through high school reading romantic poets or Shakespearean sonnets or Sylvia Plath (not that I’m criticizing these) and being asked to eek Deep Penetrating Meaning Out of Every Single Word, then being summarily told their interpretations are wrong.  Or perhaps they’ve only been exposed to poetry via Jewel or turbid teenage angst diary poetry, much like what I wrote in high school, when I actually penned a line about “rain pouring down the windows of my soul.” 

So what do I mean when I say I write poetry and why do I do it? 

I write poetry because it is an art form like no other; it has the ability to act as a narrative, as a single image, as a play, as experiment.  It is about recognizing the connections between things.  It is meditation, and it is, in the Greek sense, chorus.  It can, in the space of a few lines, do everything it would take a novel 300 pages to achieve.  It is prayer, the canary in the coal mine, song and cry.   It can be damned funny, too. 

Poetry can do this:

and this:

I am honoured to be working in such a tradition.

I’d be interested in learning about your favourite poets or poems, if you have them. 

 (Perhaps, I say cheekily, you will find them in my book, Daughters of Men, Brick Books, 2008). 


In other news, I have a group of students who have just written papers on why arts and culture programs/individuals should or should not be publicly funded.  They are making me weep with happiness, because they are articulate, passionate and exceedingly thoughtful and so entirely unexpected. 

I also signed up for the marathon and have been dutifully completing my long runs.  I would not have been happy “just” completing the half-marathon (plus, it conveniently sold out).  Why I need to have such a huge goal still remains a mystery, but a need it is, and I will walk or crawl across the finish line if I have to.  I may need people there to pull me across.

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