We’re enjoying a lovely string of early fall days here in Minnesota. The children are off to school. I always feel like writing in the fall.
Here’s a poem by Mary Jo Salter from her collection, A Phone Call to the Future.
How hard it is to take September
straight—not as a harbinger
of something harder.
Merely like suds in the air, cool scent
scrubbed clean of meaning—or innocent
of the cold thing coldly meant.
How hard the heart tugs at the end
of summer, and longs to haul it in
when it flies out of hand
at the prompting of the first mild breeze.
It leaves us by degrees
only, but for one who sees
summer as an absolute,
Pure State of Light and Heat, the height
to which one cannot raise a doubt,
as soon as one leaf’s off the tree
no day following can fall free
of the drift of melancholy.
In the “now I feel better about my personal chaos” category:
NL: Another student wanted me to ask if, as a formal writer, you are organized and structured in your own life as well?
SALTER: Not in the least. I can tell you that I wake up at 4:00 in the morning and remember something I was supposed to do at 4:00 in the afternoon the day before. I am terribly disorganized. What I say in my poem “Office Hours” about having files on the floor that haven’t gone into the filing cabinet is really alarming, because I wrote that poem at least five years ago, and those same papers are still on the floor. No. I think I put whatever orderliness I’ve got into my poems, and the rest is chaos.
A big thank you to all of you who sent me mail and commented about life-changing books. I’m keeping a list that I’ll post in the future. I always enjoy hearing from you. So send me what you write or more on life-changing books.
Writing Jumpstart: September. Go for ten minutes. Whatever comes to you. Just write.