The only writing managed today has been to rewrite the section of Appearances that I wrote yesterday. The manuscript is unfolding very slowly--one step forward and then back.
Very hot and humid. Picked 6 raspberries. A bunch more on the horizon. Can't wait to get scratched up in the bushes.
I've been a "published poet" for 40 years--from the time of college and local magazines until now. It's been a ragged progress (of sorts). I'm a late bloomer who's needed to find out for myself, and have made a lot of mistakes along the way.
For 34 point something years I worked as a Public Health Sanitarian in the Kent City Health Department. A small department in which everybody did everything. I inspected restaurants, housing, followed up on nuisance complaints, dog bites, worked in a mosquito control program, dealt with rats, communicable diseases and a host of other things.
I wanted to be a poet. I didn't want to be a professor or a business man (like my father), or a Health Inspector for that matter. I was (as I still am) enthralled by poetry and ideas.
At the same time, I love philosophy. My B.A. is in Political Science, my focus was political philosophy.
Additionally I had an undeclared major in Italian. I took every course offered in Italian at Kent State and was offered a graduate assistantship--which I turned down because I didn't see myself as a teacher. & I certainly didn't feel competent to teach Italian (the language, the culture, which I idealized--but that's another story, for another day). I had no confidence. Period.
Anyhoo. Poetry writing as a vocation or avocation in this culture is a suspect one.
During my wage earning days I learned not to talk about poetry, my magazine, my artistic activities (the only things really keeping me going) because I would either be perceived as snob or an airhead.
Early on in my so-called poetic career Ken Irby advised me not to think of myself as a local poet. That was the permission I needed and it was one of the spurrings on that led to the creation of The Difficulties.