It's Summer here in Oregon, at last, sans the rain.
To celebrate I took a vacation. From everything. That means I didn't see or talk to anyone from work, no classes for a couple weeks, and didn't pay tribute to the computer god more than two-three times weekly. I didn't wear makeup, quit doing chores, and avoided the phone. I tried to write, but somehow that part was on vacation, too.
Vacation ended today when I returned to the regular work force feeling as if I was submitting to voluntary torture. I also mowed my lawn. At 9:45pm, I was still out there sawing two feet of grass. Lush, wet and stubborn grass. "This is what happens when you go on vacation grass." There was a peachblow sunset and fresh-mown-grass breeze; lovely.
I'm taking a couple of classes this summer. One is Creative Writing and the Art of the Book. We make books, then we write in them. I've learned how to make pamphlets, sewn bindings, case bindings, accordion books, and stab binding is next, as well as a Japanese account book.
I was introduced to some poetry forms for the first time. Can't say I bonded with any, but I can do Haiku and Concrete, as well as Nonsense and Abstract poetry. My class has the art building to itself; the campus is nearly devoid of inhabitants. We go outside and draw thumbnail nature sketches. Twelve women...gluing and chattering, writing and laughing. Every age and make of woman, from newlywed, unwed, to triple-wed and can't-pay-me-to-wed. The prof has extensively--she's one of those super knowledgeable people who are comfortable and "old hat" and I wish she would teach me until I am ninety. She quotes writers like Hemingway and Kafka, and poets like Blake and Frost prolifically. She reads to us, and I've laughed and cried--it's all wonderful, unforgettable stuff.
We wrote some Sudden Fiction. I decided to open a valve and blow; suddenly the fiction I wrote was very real and satirical. About seven years ago, I bore witness to a "full donor harvest." It affected me deeply. I was upset for a long time after the event, just being on the fringes of it. A young mother with post-partum depression took an entire bottle of Amitriptylline, and then stumbled into ER. It was too late. Her otherwise healthy body was submitted to the donor program according to her family's wishes, at the hospital I work in.
If you think having the courage to be a donor is valorous and generous, you would be correct. If you also know it's one of the most gruesome and inhumane (some call it morally questionable) processes on the planet, you would bingo on that too. Back then, when this happened, we just had to focus on the people her donation was helping; otherwise, you start to wonder if people who "harvest" sleep at night. Or should "get" to sleep at night. So many parts are taken that it's like having a stuffed and stitched rag doll at the funeral.
I want to share my sudden fiction story about this event. Soon. I have to make some adjustments, though. I don't want anyone getting the idea I have gone from small-town noveling to full blown horror a la Stephen King mega-deals. Also, I think gruesome subjects benefit from a dose of Dali. Why stare reality in the face if surrealism can make people laugh? I don't know, it's probably just me, but horror can be terribly funny.
Meanwhile, (Don Henley sings) have another beer.