On Patience (Flea, Be-gone, Flee!)

Another short post.  My life this week has been taken over by flea eradication.  I’d tried everything to rid my rescue kitten and my house of the legacy obsessed, over-achieving egg layers.  Nothing worked, and when I spoke to the vet, she told me it must be because the house is infested.  I therefore spent the better part of the end of the week researching and then shopping for DIY flea bombs for my apartment, then spraying and then washing and drying every piece of fabric I own until the wee hours of the morning.  So far: success!  Though my sleep has suffered as a result.

One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is what I need to do to prepare for my thesis writing next year.  For those who don’t know, the end of an MFA culminates with the writing of a book-length manuscript, for me, in this case, of poems.

I’ve meet with all the poetry professors the past two months one by one and showed them my work thus far to get their insight into what I need to be working on right now in my second year of a three year program.  Their response was, cheeringly, pretty unanimous: to read as much as I can to try to get a sense for who and what kind of collection I want to emulate, and not to try to coerce my work into a theme just yet, to try to write more personally and less conceptually.  Apparently, and this will not come as a surprise to any who knows me, I tend to be a little too eloquent/wordy, or, in the delightful way a professor put it, “very facile.”  None of these things are always a good thing.  Basically, in my poetry, I sometimes overwrite, try too hard to force the making of the poem, rather than just stepping back and letting it breathe/come into being on its own without all my effort sweating all over it.

I’ve always been an overachiever (I once stayed up late to write two different versions of an essay and then got to school early to ask the teacher which one was the best for the assignment…and I’ve often blundered in my past romantic relationships by trying to mold them into something too soon rather than just letting things take their course), but in my life, I’m trying to work on better balance, on being more zen, and that includes in my writing practice.

But to that will take more patience and better practice.  And courage.  To let things settle and the right line to emerge on its own, rather than forcing it into existence.  To be more personal and revealing.  To risk being trite in case of being more honest and natural.

“Do you have the patience to wait

Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving

Till the right action arises by itself?”

P.S. This philosophy does not in any way relate to how one should declare war on fleas. Patience is in no way a virtue in this case.

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Filed under north carolina, poetry, writing

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