Yesterday was one of those days when I remember how much I rely on modern technology--I remember because it's not working. In the morning, I couldn't log on to my personal e-mail account, and in the afternoon, my work computer was held hostage to one of our security programs (the tech guys assure me it will be fixed today). I returned home to find out that at some point during the day, the AC stopped working.
Yes, on a day with record breaking heat (highs in the mid 90's, heat indexes of 105-110), we lost our AC. Hopefully, today, we'll find out that it's an easy fix, but it is an old system, so I'm prepared for the worst.
This morning reminds me of my summer of writing the first draft of my dissertation. We couldn't afford to run the AC, being poor graduate students, so I'd get up early to write in the cool of the morning. Back then, mornings were cool. This morning, the air is 80 degrees, with humidity of 86%. Unpleasant. Not Good Sleeping Weather.
It was interesting yesterday to be at work with no computer. I did what work I could the old-fashioned way--by making phone calls, writing some notes by hand, and reading books. Everyone I called said, "Could you send me an e-mail?" No, no I can't.
Then I started wondering how long I could go without reading that inbox of e-mails that was piling up. How long would it take before people realized that I no longer answered e-mail? That way madness lies, or unemployment, so I looked for something to occupy my time while I waited for the tech guys to fix my computer.
I hadn't written a poem since Sept. 6, so I thought, why not write a poem? I didn't feel particularly inspired, so I used a technique of Sandy Longhorn's (read about it here) which uses words from other poets and random generators to make pairs. I came up with some interesting combinations, something that might make good poems some day, but didn't lead me to a poem right away.
I played with some other ideas I had, about how we go to school to read great writers and then we end up spending our working lives reading really bad writing. I had Keats on the brain from seeing Bright Star on Sunday. I had an interesting swirl of a poem, but then I wondered, what would happen if I tried to transform this writing into a sonnet?
I must confess to being very pleased with the draft. I need to play with it a bit more before I send it out, and I tend to not post unpublished work on the blog--but if you want to see it, I'd be happy to e-mail you a copy. If you liked "Missing," you'd probably like my new sonnet.
I'm seeing a manuscript develop from poems that I've written that explore the shortcomings and frustrations of modern work life, especially from a woman's perspective. I wonder if the manuscript would be too depressing. But then I think of books like Deborah Garrison's A Working Girl Can't Win, and I'm determined to see where this leads me. How many books deal with the mid-life disappointments of working women? Working women without children?
I think of myself reading Keats yesterday, and a future scholar looking at the works I hope to have. What a strange combination: Jesus playing miniature golf, poems with nuclear themes, poems that explore work and school. Maybe during the next boring meeting that I must endure, I'll amuse myself by imagining a future graduate student writing a brilliant dissertation that explores my work.
The Summer of Reading
4 weeks ago