Thursday, August 23, 2007

...which, like all good ideas, ended up dead.

Recently, a lot of things have been happening to me. How boring to say, yet again, that I've moved to Chicago and traded unseasonable warmth for thunder storms, winter flowers for snowfall. But I have.

I've also been reading a lot, since my week off allowed me a little bit of breathing room, and so does riding the El to work every day. Not to mention that staying with Mairead is like living temporarily in a literature candy store. She hands me books and says "You must try this!" and I know something good is about to happen, as if I am about to taste Mexican hot chocolate.

The most recent thing she handed me was Matthea Harvey's book of poetry Sad Little Breathing Machine, which contains the kind of work that I often lose hope might exist. Specifically, and initially, I'm thinking of the poem that got Mairead talking about Harvey, entitled "Ideas Go Only So Far."

When I'm writing, I often have the urge to combine realism and something akin to magical realism, but can end up shying away from more outrageous things for fear that I'll lose the real meaning I'm aiming at inside of a chimera. What I admire about Harvey's poetry is her ability to traipse outside of the mundane without seeming to overextend herself. Cool and collected, it's evident that Harvey's poems are part of Harvey's world. I can imagine her sitting in the warm hum of the laundry room, watching the machine-washable baby from "Ideas Only Go So Far" agitate calmly.

Being in a new city gives me the same sort of pleasantly off-balance feeling as Harvey's work. I know that I am home, but it's a watery, indiscreet, and, for the moment, untranslatable place.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh My!

Sometimes I check my neglected blog, as if expecting someone to have updated it in my absence. What a thing to do!

Tomorrow I'm leaving the West Coast for the Midwest again, for who knows how long. What a thing to do!