My Own Personal NaPoWriMo2015

Hey, friends!

So, no personal blog post this week, because I’m gearing up for the gigantic creative endeavour which is National Poetry Writing Month. Now, I know that was in April, but I missed doing it in April, so I’m making it happen in May instead. That means that for the entire month of day, yes, all thirty-one days, I will post a poem a day on this blog.

I will not be sharing those posts on social media because those will likely be first drafts and putting first drafts on a public blog is big enough without promoting them as well. So feel free to visit this blog every day if you want to get some insight into my creative process/what I get up to when I have to write a large amount of poetry in a limited amount of time.

That’s all from me! My own personal NaPoWriMo starts tomorrow… so you’ll be hearing a lot from me in the next month.


Friday Poem: Caras watches the river rise

I wrote this poem during NaPoWriMo last year. I actually completely forgot until halfway through this month that April is National Poetry Writing Month and got briefly livid with myself. Today I’m pretty over it, but I’m thinking of turning May into my own personal NaPoWriMo to make up for missing such a momentous date. If I do, I’ll probably post the highlights on this blog.

Caras watches the…

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Friday Poem: Caras watches the river rise

I wrote this poem during NaPoWriMo last year. I actually completely forgot until halfway through this month that April is National Poetry Writing Month and got briefly livid with myself. Today I’m pretty over it, but I’m thinking of turning May into my own personal NaPoWriMo to make up for missing such a momentous date. If I do, I’ll probably post the highlights on this blog.

Caras watches the river rise

Caras watches the river rise —
green , swollen , a boil about to burst —
the kappas are angry tonight ;
there is a whispering in the air ,
millions of cicadas .

Caras sways on the balcony , grips
the railing , watches transfixed
the roiling waters .

Soon it will storm ; the world
turns grey & muted ;
sky — television turned to a dead channel —
cicadas like radio static —

These nights , Caras feels
the only living person left .

About This Poem
I have a collection of poems I’m calling The Caras Project, which I think will eventually be rounded out into a book of poems, this is the latest of them. Caras, from what I can tell, is a lovely, broken, artistic person.

Linguistics and Life Updates

Part of catching up on e-mail for me is catching up on blog subscriptions. I don’t really like to use readers–not sure why, they just don’t really appeal to me; I tend not to remember to check them–so the primary way I keep up with blogs I care about is by subscribing to them via e-mail (much easier to do with WordPress than Blogger, I’m sorry to say).

What happens with catching up on blogs, though, is I tend to go down a link labyrinth from which iti s very difficult to extract myself. For instance, the very excellent Gruntled and Hinged shared two articles about the linguistics of “Yes” and “No”, which I read, enjoyed, and promptly shared on twitter, because of course what person in this day and age doesn’t use these constructions? I certainly say “No, yeah,” all the time when agreeing with people; I’m not entirely sure why I do it and am always amused when I catch myself.

This is the stuff that reminds me how much I love my undergrad major and makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t go on to grad school for it, since I love it so much. The thing is, though: I love reading articles and papers about linguistics, but I am significantly less fond of writing them.

I was in Philadelphia this past Sunday for a Music Therapy Group and I took the opportunity to meet up with a woman I met while I was still at Repair the World, who has given me invaluable advice about nonprofit work and job hunting and being true to myself. We talked a bit about where I currently am in my life and why I haven’t been sending in job applications with as much gusto as I feel I ought to be. In conversation with her, I feel much more able to cope with the overwhelming amount of possibilities. I took a lot of notes during our conversation, and I do believe I’ll act on most of them.

One of the most important things she said to me was that she sees two possible trajectories for me (although she’s sure that there are more): one is to take advantage of my current fairly specialized skillset (annotating stuff linguistically) and apply it in various work environments, honing it further as I get more specialized; the other is to find organizations I want to work for (because I believe in their mission, for instance) and see what it is they need, becoming more of a generalist and doing administrative work that isn’t specifically linguistic in nature. Those two trajectories are not mutually exclusive. This idea that when we choose a career path, we automatically close the doors to everything else we could possibly is a lie told by our capitalist society to keep us in our place and producing. It’s not true.

Just as my therapist said two weeks ago, it is not just all right, but excellent to try things on without committing to them.

I’m going to keep that in mind as the week goes on and I work on my various projects and apply to various new jobs and opportunities. Keep an eye out on twitter for bragging as I get shit done——I’ve found that adulting is more fun with an audience. 😀

Family, Friends, and Passover 2015

You may note that I have been absent from this blog for a while. The reason, you see, is in the title of this blog post.

Although I don’t believe in supernatural things like God or Gods, I do still identify as Jewish and celebrate accordingly (although I observe rather more haphazardly than I celebrate). This year, following the words of the Haggadah (“Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are needy share the hope of this Passover celebration”), we had guests from quite far off at our seder——my eldest sister Olga’s friends from back in Kharkov who are now living in Israel and Canada. They’re all lovely people and I’m glad that now I’m old enough to become acquainted with them on my own terms and not just as Olga’s kid sibling. Also, they’re all pretty good at using the name Robin for me rather than my given name, so that’s refreshing.

Oh, speaking of names & gender! My mother and I went to the Park Slope Food Coop to get me a membership (my parents are both already members) and my mother introduced me as her child and asked to get a form “for them”. Progress!

With Olga’s friends, we wandered around the city, visited the Cloisters, and basically walked around a lot. It was a great time, reminded me of how much I love the city, and kept me away from the computer for hours on end——that last is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, staring at a computer screen all day is hardly beneficial to my health or outlook on life. On the other hand, keeping up with my e-mail, doing the work that pays me money, and writing in this blog are all things I care about, so not being able to do them is pretty frustrating.

Working out the balance between hanging out outside and doing computer-online-things is… an ongoing challenge. Let me know if any of you have figured out the perfect balance, because I sure haven’t!

Meanwhile, I’m delighted that we’re finally in spring and that I can just walk around in tank tops and shirts rather than hoodies and winter coats.

I also started going to yoga regularly at YogaVida, since they have a first-timer deal of $20 for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga classes. That has been feeling good, although I feel uncomfortable with the idea of being yet another white person doing yoga just for the health benefits. I use as my guide this excellent article from Everyday Feminism and I plan to explore the various limbs of yoga more deeply, so that at least I can understand what it is that I am practicing.

So that’s me for the past couple of weeks. I’ll see you on Friday for poetry day!

Getting To OK

CN: anxiety, depression

So I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago all about how I’m not as OK as I seem to be in meatspace and I thought about posting that up today. But rereading it, even though it’s only a couple of weeks old, it already doesn’t quite accurately describe my state of being. There’s parts of it that are still true —— I’m still dealing with anxiety and depression all day erryday, for one thing —— but part of the flux of daily life means that these past couple of days have been better than others.

In the blog post I’m not posting, I described my state of mind as being full of terror all the time, much in the way I had felt an undercurrent of terror for the last semester of my Junior year of college. Looking back on the last week, though, that’s not my current state. I spent this past weekend feeling lethargic, fatigued, utterly unmotivated, despairing —— all the fun symptoms of depression. Terror wasn’t part of it, though, thank goodness. Even yesterday, I managed to Get Shit Done, although some of the shit in question was recording myself telling myself how everything is sad and awful, a lovely little phone ritual courtesy of Radical Selfie (I’m not sure if it helped, but pausing and introspecting is rarely ever bad for me).

A key thing that happened yesterday and today is that both days I took the time to work out and meditate (links go to the YouTube playlist I use to work out from and Headspace, my guided meditation site of choice). It’s a proven fact that I feel better when I work out and meditate. Unfortunately, working out and meditating lends itself to the chicken & egg problem of ‘I feel better when I work out, but if I’m too depressed to even get out of bed, I won’t work out, which then leads me to feel worse… and so on’. I’m working on it.

It helps to have my HabitRPG party relying on me to finish my “Dones” (of which exercising is one) and potential clients on being impressed by my meditation streak and deciding they want me as their accountability coach over anybody else. I’ve heard that it’s better to have internal motivation for all the things one wants to get done, but the external stuff seems to work better for me lately, and I’m not above taking advantage of that in order to build the habits I need to see me through.

So that’s me. I’ve noticed I have a bunch of new followers —— how’re y’all doing? What’s your self-care habit of choice?