Snap out of it.
Hello, Reader. Meet the snap out of it doll=>
My mother gave me this doll one fateful summer — the summer when all three kids were old enough to whine and fuss in earnest, and with a goal in mind. Like:
Me: It’s time to put your clean laundry away.
Them: Waaaaah. But I’m toooooo tiiiiiirrrrrreeeedddddd.
Me: [Thinks to self: Connect and redirect. Gives a quick hug]. Being tired’s no fun. It’s time to put your laundry away.
Them: Waaaaaah. Buuut Moooooooommmmmm. I’m toooooo tiiiiiirrrrrreeeeddddd.
Me: [Thinks, Where is that F-ing doll? Finds doll. Hands doll to child] Snap out of it. [walks away]
If you look closely, you will see that the snap of it doll has gotten enough use so as to be in need of mending near her ear. I feel I can relate to her deeply on that point.
But lately, I, too, have felt the need to…
snap out of it Not because I’ve been whining about putting my laundry away, but because I’m back from the first residency of my low-res MFA program, and I’ve had a hard time snapping out of: Oh look here I am with a bunch of people who care about what I care about and who are reading what I’m reading and who are also interested in rhetorical strategies for lyricization of a narrative and here we all are all day and all night doing our writerly thing.
I mean, I get this sense from the washing machine that it expects me to have this deep connection to it, but I’m just not feeling it. And then, these people who are always STARVING.
Them: Mooooommmmmmmm, I’m STARRRRRRRRRRRVING.
Me: Starving? Really!? Do you want to know about starving!!?? Come here, look at this. Do you see this? [shows photo from New York Times] These people are trapped on a mountain by a terrorist group. There is no food or water on the mountain. If they leave the mountain to try to find food and water, the terrorist group will kill them. THEY are starving. YOU are SO NOT STARVING [walks away, mutters under breath].
Them: [insert deer in the headlights look].
So, yeah, as usual, a little pain on re-entry for all of us. I’m sure I’ll stop feeling disoriented any second now [waiting, waiting…. waiting]. Or maybe not. Maybe disorientation is what we need to write poetry. Le Sigh. Anyway, …
here’s what I’ve been reading (says the prairie dog at my desk):
- Descending Figure Louise Glück
- Charming Gardeners David Beispiel
- Victims of a Map: A Bilingual Anthology of Arabic Poetry (all by men, I must add)
- Miss Leavitt’s Stars by George Johnson
- How to Live on Bread and Water by Jennifer K. Sweeney
- Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers (also all men, I must add)
- Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel
- Mary Coin by Marisa Silver
- Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
- The Everything Parenting a Teenager BookT by Linda Sonna. Le Sigh.
- Occasionally, the New York Times.
At some point, I will have to focus on 2 or 3 of these texts and let the others fall away for now. I’ll do that. As soon as I snap out of it.
speaking of which Right now, I want to hand the snap out of it doll to the whole wide world. I want us all to stop killing each other. I want us all to stop thinking that some people are worth less than other people. I want us to start caring more about our planet. I want the police to go back to wearing those nifty blue shirts and caps with a visor on the front. I want there to be fewer guns in the world, on our streets. I want people to stop making and playing video games that turn killing other people into entertainment. I want us to say hello to each other in the morning when we cross paths walking through our neighborhoods (when I do this in the P-town, people look at me like I’ve just sprouted a third eye). I want no one to be trapped and starving on a mountain top, literal or figurative.
[steps off soapbox]
In that spirit, I offer you a poem by the beloved Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim who died this week. I give you:
Travel Tickets by Samih al-Qasim
The day I’m killed,
my killer, rifling through my pockets,
will find travel tickets:
One to peace,
one to the fields and the rain,
to the conscience of mankind.
Dear killer of mine, I beg you:
Do not stay and waste them.
Take them, use them.
I beg you to travel.
(A.Z. Foresman, trans.)
Happy weekend reader. Here’s to snapping out of it [raises glass — full of water].