I'm sitting in a cafe eating a barely edible dinner. I had to send my barely edible dinner back twice. I asked about the obvious potential gluten-laden item, but I didn't pay close enough attention to the supporting elements, which were a gluten frenzy. It's been one of those days. Breakfast was half a bowl of buckwheat cereal—what I could scrape off the top because I burnt the shit out of the bottom. The rest of the day was filling out forms, making medical appointments, and dealing with the upheaval of getting a new refrigerator in a small place that's overrun with bookcase. Yesterday, Kevin spent hours clearing a refrigerator-sized pathway to the kitchen, and I spent most of the day today dealing with the rest of it, which I won't detail. Just think boring physical labor. This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't frantic to be writing. Instead of relaxing into summer break, I'm feeling panicky about time, as if the whole summer were a giant hour glass, and if I'm not vigilant, all the sand is going to rush out in a whoosh, and I'll have dip shit to show for it. My therapist says I have a distorted sense of time.
I've been meditating regularly again—that had slipped with the end of the semester overload. A stupid thing to let slip, as when I started up again, the positive effects were instant. It's not that I didn't have a total meltdown this afternoon over the refrigerator, but afterwards, as I sat with Quincey by my side and just breathed for half an hour, at a certain point the chaos just melted—or, more accurately, even though nothing had changed, it no longer felt like chaos. Listening to the traffic in the background, I thought to myself, "Thoughts are music" and I thought of Leslie Scalapino, how her poetry was so much about thought music.
One of the things unearthed in our cleaning out of two over-stuffed bookcases was the original draft of my novel The Letters of Mina Harker, which is dramatically different than the print version. This version is unfinished, and contains the letters as they were written to the original recipients, as well as responses from some of the recipients! I don't have a Word file for this version, so this is the only copy that exists. I pulled this version together because an editor asked to see it. The manuscript was far from finished, but since she wanted to see it, I gave her what I had. Her suggestion was to get rid of the letter format, turn it into a journal or something. When I acted like you gotta be kidding me, she not only rejected it from her press, she also rejected it from Another Important Press, where she also worked—even though I hadn't submitted it to that press! Years later, when Another Important Press agreed to publish an anthology Kevin and I been accepted for, she demanded that Kevin and I be removed from the lineup. Not too long ago this woman asked me and Kevin to be Facebook friends. Kevin accepted; unlike me, he understands the redemption of forgiveness (a Christian concept I've been learning a lot about from watching Tyler Perry movies).
These original Mina letters shocked me in their aggressive sexuality. Particularly, the ones between me and poet Dan Davidson—I'd forgotten the eros in our early encounters. But back then I was into this pan-eros mode, which seems so foreign to me now. The original manuscript is divided into sections. The second section is called "Too Intense for Real Life," which made me stop as I recently had an email exchange with someone from my past—who I knew before I was involved in the writing scene, and he brought up my intensity, which ended in an email skirmish—I don't want to go into details here about him—but my intensity was presented as something to deal with, either a person could deal with it or not deal with it—and this wasn't settling well with me. I think everybody has their own intensity—even people who on the surface seem quite mild—plus, considering the divas in our experimental writing fishbowl, I'm rarely the most intense person in the room. It occurred to me—why would I want to be involved with someone who had to "deal" with my intensity. I was obsessed with this person in my late 20s, and I felt sad for that girl, that she wouldn't have questioned being involved with someone who clearly didn't get her, didn't value the amazing energy she had. If things worked out with him, I imagine myself ending up all gray and haggard, desperately whining I'll make myself less for you, I know I can, sorry I'm too much for you, sorry sorry sorry. I asked Kevin if he thought I was intense, and he said yes, that's why I'm with you. Thank god I found him.