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post-poetry vacation depression

October 21, 2009

It happened after I returned from Oregon (TIn House) this summer. In fact, it hit when I was in the San Francisco airport making my connecting flight. And it has happened now, back from Lowell (Massachusetts Poetry Festival). I feel sad and lost.

I can’t write a poem to save my life, and despite an acceptance today — one I’ve coveted for a long, long time — I feel as though it’s silly to try to be this poet-person. Of course, it’s a ridiculous consideration. Even though I don’t feel like I could write a poem to save my life right now (well, maybe to save my life, but it wouldn’t be a “good” poem), I don’t know how to be a non-writer.

Jill and I plotted our swift take-over of the world on the 3-hour drive back to New York, but as soon as I was home, I felt the energy draining out of me, and Monday, I was convinced I had the swine flu. That’s how physically weary I was. How is that possible? That a poetry-infused and friend-infused trip can lead to such a low?

After walking a half-marathon with my sister earlier this month, I warned her: “Be on the look-out for the post-race crash.” I told her she’d feel listless and aimless and desperate. She did. And despite my warning, it took her by surprise.

Is this the same thing? In my wacky world, it’s always possible that it’s hormones, but also suspect is the inability to integrate the parts of my life into a cohesive unit. Always controversial is the priority one part takes over another. Does poetry make me happy? or do kids and marriage make me happy? Why not both — family and poetry? Both. Of course! Both. In theory? Both. In practice? I’m a mess. I don’t know what to do with either, let alone both.

  1. October 21, 2009 11:27 pm


  2. October 22, 2009 10:49 am

    Dear Sad Poet Friend,

    Please scroll below your post and take note of the gorgeous poet-ladies smiling back at you. They are real! Off to the side are the cell phones that tie them to their families. There are other ties, but they are invisible, and like spider webs, very, very sticky!

    Meet me soon for sushi and reciprocal pinches on the arm–we are real. We’re just, um, uh, well, you see, I, too suffer from post-vacation depression. Luckily there is no man w/a gun looming over me demanding a poem!

  3. October 22, 2009 2:37 pm

    I felt like this when I got back from Arvon……..well for a week I was all bouyed up by the feedback I got but then I got caught up in the kids and Daniel and the refurbishment and it pisses me off that most of the time I’m so damn tired, I have about an hour a day in which to be creative…..but I keep plugging away, plug, plug 🙂 And last week I wrote one of the best things I’ve ever written, so it can be done, just slowly slowly. I hijacked. Big hugs, xo

  4. October 22, 2009 11:59 pm

    It’s so energizing to be surrounded by your kind, i.e., poets! B/c of my readings I’m only coming down now — flu, fatigue, sadness — and haven’t written a new poem in a couple weeks! But a spot of rest is called for, time to read & recharge. Be kind to yourself! That’s my #1 mantra.

  5. October 23, 2009 4:12 pm

    wise women, all of you! (either that or slightly “touched” like i am, but i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.)

    love you all!!!!

  6. October 26, 2009 2:48 am

    Beautifully put.

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