August 20, 2009

Eyeing One's Upper Arms

Last night I went to a mothertongue reading at the Black Cat. Oh, my god, it had been too long! The house was full of American University folks--Venus Thrash, Derrick Brown, and Natalie E. Illum, a founder of mothertongue. Congratulations to Danielle for hosting a vital, crowded evening. When one of several killer chicks on the mic came up to me later in the Red Room Bar and said "Are you Sandra Beasley? I love your book." I felt thrilled. And old. Thrilled and old. For chronological perspective, I remember debuting this poem on the open mic. And getting in trouble afterwards because I had run over my five minute time limit.

There's a moment that comes with attending MT readings. I experienced it in years past, and I had it last night. At some point during the slew of readings, I cross my arms over my knees and let my head hang down. It's not boredom, it's contemplation; and at some point this contemplation always includes my upper arms, which are A) in view only in this particular posture, and 2) a spot of sore I-wish-I-were-thinner vulnerability. But by the time I enter this zone, I am not feeling vulnerable. I am listening to some amazing, often amazingly seductive poetry; I am remembering that I am part of a community of women larger than any one relationship; I am part of a community that thinks a curve is something to be valued, not shaved off.

And my upper arms are awesome, damn it.

The teaching stint at Catholic University was scotched--budgeting cuts forced the department to cancel six classes. Thank god it wasn't income I had counted on earlier this year. It's honestly a blessing in disguise. I still have the Corcoran gig, which offers the outside structure I need, and there is no point in quitting a full-time job only to commit to a plethora of part-time jobs that devour too much of my time. I have a book due in less than a year!

The fates are telling me it is time to write for a living. Or, as my friend Steph says, People who fly don't need safety nets.


Anonymous said...

Too bad about the Catholic U. classes, but you are definitely right -- don't take on too many part-time gigs to distract from the book!

giulia said...

I guess I don't need to add to B's comment...but what the hell, I will. Over the past too many years (you think you're old? I'm freaking out, man)...I have watched many friends, colleagues, & acquaintances either blow a deal or get in big trouble by taking too many part-time gigs. They always seem to add up to about three full-time jobs in the end. You're right to keep a check on it. (Though I am sorry about Catholic U.)

Valerie Loveland said...

Glad to hear you are looking at this in a positive way.

Mozart Guerrier said...

Really enjoyed the poem 'piano speaks' in Poetry!

Neil said...

A little far flung praise, if allowed. And far nearer one end than the other I am, so please let's not discuss growing old! Being specific, not to name a favorite child, but "Let Me Count the Waves" and "Unit of Measure" are just plain falling down beautiful.

Go do what you do so well!