Funny old day

One  of those old chock-full days. Crammed a lot in. Medical appointment then a lunch out treat. I paid the price in the middle of the afternoon when I became seriously fatigued. I would not give in  instead I bulldozed through and found myself needing to lie down in the early evening. This kind of sudden fatigue is really part and parcel of the dialysis experience.

Part of today was helping a friend who is technologically challenged to try out the dictation function for entering text into his laptop computer. Test worked well and he was quite intrigued and I believe he will have some success using this method.


In fact I have used this dictation verbal dictation method to enter most of the text in this post.

Sunday, a few notes

Watched The Rewrite with Hugh Grant, great comedy.  Finished watching The Baker with Damian Lewis, a second great comedy. Both on

Diagnostic news: angiogram last week showed new lesion, 90-95 blocked artery. Therefore now triple not double bypass along with aortic valve replacement. No surgery date set.

Dialysis last week was smooth.

Will and 2 POAs: Saw a lawyer to make up a will and 2 power of attorneys. Long overdue.

My Funky Hands: I have lost some flexibility and dexterity in both hands. Handlin a computer mouse and handwriting with a pen more difficult, but I can still manage both in an awkward fashion. A bit tiring.  My novel now looking more likely to be a novella, sliding down to a short story.  Perhaps a haiku.

Local weather went from sickly and steaming, to a little cooler and wonderful. I love looking at the green trees.

Began reading a bio of James Dickey and his collected poems.  Writer Pat Conroy, a student of Dickey, said that Dickey made Hemingway seem in comparison like a florist from the mid-west.  You might remember him as the author of the novel, Deliverance. The movie with Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds. Dickey played a small part in the movie, a small town, menacing sheriff.

Musing on the vanished muse

“It is more than a little insidious how a worsening health situation can morph you into a person you never imagined you were or could become.”

I wrote that in September of 2011.   That was a bleak time.  Times are less bleak right now and the warmer weather is part of the improvement.  Somehow manufacturing more industrial strength acceptance of my situation without excessive self-flagellation helps.  Also I am trying to get out more with camera in hand and taking photographs with it, not just carrying it for ballast.

One area that I am puzzling over is the near total abandonment by my poetry muse.  She has flown the coop and I am ticked.  I have attempted poetry since I was a kid and right now it often seems like beginning neurosurgery rather than resuming a life long pursuit. According to a few people I have had a few moments of real success in this area, but right now it is something I tell myself I want to do and yet I shun it.   Believe me when I say I have considered this from a number of angles almost to the point of exhaustion certainly near to the address of farce: the physical environment (writing space), routine or the lack of a standard schedule of scribble time, lack of peer scribblers to review material, the apparent pointlessness of the activity, and other things.  I ask the question: what were the conditions in the past that made it easier to write.  What conditions exist now that make it more difficult.   Not much clarity emerges from all this.

It may be silly but I am wondering if the bio rollercoaster of dialysis–the process works the heart hard and one’s electrolytes get messed around with as well, flakey fatigue patterns, vampire-like insomnia–could have something to do with the dry poetic well. I keep on kicking over stones looking for worms to go fishing with down at the poem pond.  I will try and post a few attemted poems this month here on bluetyger.

One thing is certain the primary rule of writing still applies and I could do better in applying it:

“Apply ass to chair and stay there over the page.”

As for attitude of the personal kind, I made up a quip about this a long time ago.

“Attitude is everything, unless of course, you are flying, in which case altitude comes first.”

Scheming and plotting

had a chat with an old friend who some years back did a low-residency MFA writing degree.  I am contemplating this pour moi.  I need to do some more research, but the initial impression is that Canadian universities do not seem to have embraced the low-residency approach which is widely available in the USA.

I don’t know that I need to adopt this idea since my primary goal is to work out of my current unfocused work and reading.

I wonder if I can’t create my own MFA curriculum with readings and writing assignments.

Over the past few years the Muse seems to have lost my address.   My reading is all over the place.  I have grown weary of reading fiction that is based in murder and other mayhem.  James Lee Burke, Don Wisnlow, and even Stephen White are great storytellers but the immersion in ultra-violence keeps haunting me as a bad place to wander with my imagination and soul.

I first encountered this concern on TV when I watched Homicide: Life on the Streets.  A brilliant show with great writing and acting. And death as a constant and not Agatha Christie deaths but harsh, awfull deaths.  I now watch NCIS and like the characters but wonder about the entertainment in gruesome violence and graphic autopsies.  I suppose one can toss into the argument the blood soaked stage of Hamlet or Macbeth.

Moreabout this after I muse more and mutter less to myself and develop a resolution.

valuing the high school research paper

Today I found a New York Times article about The Concord Review, which publishes outstanding high school research essays.  The founder and publisher gets a curmudgeon’s characterization, but Harvard pays attention.  For a high school student to have an essay published in the Concord Review is a stamp of quality they admire.