friday roundup: the myth of the normal week, boot camp, and The Us

prehistoric hand (wikimedia)

Reader, the socks are not yet folded. I can’t remember what I did instead, but possibly nothing. Yesterday I walked around in the morning saying “The most important thing today is to submit poems. The most important thing today is to submit poems. The most important thing today is to submit poems.” I went to the library to submit poems. The words broke apart and crawled off the pages. Poems on strike! Refusing to (be) submit(ted)!

But I did one good revision.

I’m counting it.

Maybe today, socks. Yes today, submissions. But first, the roundup:

Can we talk about the myth of the normal week? Every weekend I smile and sigh and think to myself, Ah, yes, next week is finally going to be a normal week. To file under Learn, Re-Learn, and Re-re-learn (my thickest file): there is no such thing as a normal week. This is because we are funny little creatures called human beings. We take ill. Our dishwashers leak. Our life partners work crazy hours. Or we work crazy hours. We forgot about that dentist appointment. No T.P. Code red drill. Chicken didn’t thaw in time for dinner. You get the idea. I’m writing it down, I’m hanging it up over my desk: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A NORMAL WEEK. I believe we wouldn’t have as much fun if weeks were normal. I believe we wouldn’t learn as much. We might even, perish the thought, become complacent. Join me in my efforts to embrace the abnormal week. To next week, I say this: “Next Week, you can’t fool me. I know you’re not going to be normal. You’re abnormal every time. Stop posing, looking all blank on the calendar. I know the real you, and you don’t scare me. You can be abnormal if you want. You can be paranormal if you want. I’m going to embrace you (and actually squeeze every last bit of life out of you).” Who’s with me?

(Thanks, I feel better now).

boot camp, Donna Vorreyer wrote about the doldrums this week, and her friend’s wonderful fix for said doldrums: boot camp. You know you’ve got a great friend when she gives you poetry homework every day that you have to turn in. I think this is such a great idea that I’m going to be ready for the  next time I hate all my poems, by pre-enlisting my po-friends for boot camp (Dear po-friends, please start preparing my homework assignments. Thank you). By its very nature, boot camp can’t last forever, but it could be just the thing to pull one out of the doldrums.

The Us  I am reading a terrific (understatement) book called The Us (Tupelo Press) by Joan Houlihan. This book tells the story of a primitive people who live and roam together,  who eventually encounter a group of advanced people, and the aftermath of this encounter. Joan Houlihan has somehow told this story in an elliptical and lyric mode that tends toward, not just a distinctive voice, but another language altogether (and yet one that feels entirely native from an emotional standpoint). Reader, I’m in complete awe. You must now click on this link to read the poem “Us nest fine,” the first poem in the collection. Please also read the poet’s bio, so you can enter into he rest of your day on a note of laughter. And then run, don’t walk, to your nearest book-buying outlet (or use this one) so you, too, can partake in this dual feast of story and language.

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! And may all your weeks be completely abnormal.

7 thoughts on “friday roundup: the myth of the normal week, boot camp, and The Us

  1. P.S. I should note that when you click on the link to read “Us nest fine” the “LESS” and “full text” are not elements of the poems but are (somewhat distracting) elements of the website. Which is just one more reason to go and buy the book so you can read the poem unimpeded.

  2. The words breaking apart and crawling off the pages gave me flashbacks to Inkheart.

    Hope you got to see the Space Shuttle. I caught a brief glimpse of it, but not nearly as good a view if I’d arrived at the park a mere minute earlier.

  3. I’m in!!! Abnormal weeks rock!!! You are so right about that. I say the exact same thing every weekend too.

    The book seems really interesting, that poem was really interesting. I had to read it a couple of times, but I see everything you were saying. I can see how after reading a few of these you would be taken to a different place and time.

  4. Pingback: The Myth of the Normal Week | poetry & effrontery

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