I have spent the better part of the day in Ohio. Not physically, but metaphorically. Spiritually. I have dived into the well of memory, and come up sputtering.
Well, not exactly.
As part of my research, I found the farm where we used to buy our hay, and found a website devoted to abandoned buildings in Ohio that had great shots of the now-defunct Jaite Paper Mill, which was just down the road from my house. My mom and I used to ride our horses on the towpath (Ohio and Erie Canal) from what is now called "Red Lock" on Highland Road to Boston Mills, up Stanford Road, and back past Brandywine Falls. The towpath is now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park but back in the late '70s and early '80s, we were basically trespassing on land owned by the state. It was an all-day ride but it was probably only 4 or 5 miles total.
I was able to completely re-work a poem I had written 13 years ago for a writing workshop at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which will hereafter be referred to as the $chool, since I will be 70 before I am done paying the loans I took out to go there. Not joking.
I re-worked another one, same thing. This one came out of a trip to an old boyfriend's family-owned tree farm. I wonder if he'll ever read it. Probably not.
Both have been submitted to an editor for consideration for an anthology on growing up in Ohio. The deadline is August 1st. Today is July 29th. It is also the first day I have had almost completely to myself in over a month. I worked all day(10:00am to 4:30pm) on TWO POEMS (and yes, I'm including my web-surfing because I had to gently jog my memory).
And I'm proud. The original poems were absolutely abysmal. Total crap. They will never ever be read by another human being as long as I am alive, and I'm thinking I might have them burned with me when I'm cremated.
And I managed to get something decent out of them, so I'm pretty happy about that.
I also called Pudding House Press, paid the reading fee for my chapbook manuscript in advance, and will now spend tomorrow tweaking the poems (and maybe adding one or two) before I send it out.
I hope that Pudding House will publish the chapbook. They published Chuck Rybak's Liketown and several other of my colleagues recommended the press as one that might like my work. The fact that Chuck likes my work gives me hope for the future. Chuck is awesome.
I am filled with raw energy--I feel alive and vital and creative. I wish I could bottle this feeling for the days I am confronted with various and sundry forms of stupidity. For the days when I am confronted by not one but two shrieking and unhappy offspring. For the days when I am confronted with a stack of papers that reaches to my kneecaps.
You know...normal days.