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random bits of joy for your sunday

November 15, 2009

Something I think is really cool: this request for help from qarrtsiluni. Ever wonder what goes into editors’ decisions on Pushcart Prizes? Join the discussion and make suggestions.

* ** *

I tell the boys this: You’re only getting a tiny bit of syrup. Ration it. You don’t need syrup on every bite of waffle.

Davin, The Philosopher Boy, says: There is no waffle without syrup.

When I argue, he insists: Nothing exists without syrup.

* ** *

I started a new group at Read Write Poem called “Revisionaries.” On Mondays, I’ll post a revision strategy and poets will have the chance to post “before” and “after” versions of their poems. Please join us when you can. If you’re like me, the poems that aren’t quite there collect dust, even though they may have potential for new life.

* ** *

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, with Jill (there’s a candid shot of our happy faces at Facebook). She had been invited to read with a group of poets published in Naugatuck River Review. It was a proud writing buddy moment: she was so poised and warm in her reading, which is not a surprise, but is always so wonderful to see.

We went to dinner afterward at Mission Bar and Tapas with a small group of poets, including Marie-Elizabeth Mali (who is, coincidentally, organizing the Denise Duhamel workshop we’ll be attending in a few weeks), Taylor Mali, Will Nixon, Tommy Twilite and Lori DesRosiers (the editor of Naugatuck). The owner of the restaurant, a friend of the Mali’s, is organizer of Pittsfield’s WordxWord festival.

* ** *

Oh, Zumba, my love! It’s amazing what this pseudo-dance cardio craziness is doing for me. I’ve been doing it for a year or so pretty regularly, and I started because, as far as sweaty-get-your-heart-rate-up exercise, it’s very simply one of the most entertaining and joyful options. But it’s having other side effects, like the curious notion of enjoying my body.

Many of you know I’m extremely critical of and dissatisfied with my body and its shape and its, um, abundance. I have terrible body image issues and possess awkwardness and self-consciousness that feels, to me, like a huge obstacle. Something is happening at Zumba, however. I’m not just enjoying the physical sensation of the movement and the level of fitness I’m maintaining. I’m also enjoying how I look when I dance.

It sounds like a small thing, but it’s monumental. Yes, I have those moments facing the mirrors in the gym where I panic, recognizing my grandmother’s arms, lamenting the extra flesh around my middle, worrying that the jiggle in the booty is over the top. And yes, these moments are devastating. But they are also, miraculously, fleeting. Something comes next. A “holy moly, girl, you can shake it!” Or a “hit it!” Or a — any Pretty Woman fans out there? — “work it! work it! work it!”

There is something wonderful about Zumba, an attitude that works for me. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If it’s yours, shake it. And you know what? A curvy figure makes some moves all the more powerful.

In a couple weeks, I’m getting certified to teach Zumba. I can only hope my students agree. We’re often used to the aerobics instructor being the tiniest thing in the room. That’s not me. But maybe they’ll forget about that and try to bring it like I bring it. It’s a great message, not “if she can do it, I can do it,” but “I want that joy and I’m going for it.”

I’m going for it, baby.

* ** *

Some day soon, I’m thinking about writing a poem. No pressure.

* ** *

That’s a lie. I’m freaking out, of course, because I haven’t been writing. But I’ve been thinking about it.

  1. November 16, 2009 1:08 am

    Oh, this does make me happy, very happy.

  2. November 17, 2009 10:47 pm

    Ah, Davin — he’s not wrong. 🙂

    I’m sad to have missed the NRR reading. Lordy, what a deluge! Soon, soon.

    Working from home, I don’t pass many mirrors or get dressed up daily, so I forget for days at a time the extra baby rolls I’m sporting in the middle. This summer I bought a wonderful summer dress at a yard sale, I ADORE it, and the friend who sold it looked askance at me. When I got home & tried it on, I understood. Oh. Oh my. But I have high hopes for NEXT summer…

    Hooray for you & Zumba — I would totally take a class if you were my teacher. And in town. You’re an absolute inspiration.

  3. November 17, 2009 10:55 pm

    oh, marie. 🙂

    the timing of your message is perfect. thank you. a minor zumba setback, but i will not be deterred.

    summer dresses are tricky. don’t let it get you down. and, um, you have a baby so baby weight is acceptable (though i didn’t notice you sporting any of it when we met)!

  4. November 17, 2009 11:58 pm

    I wish I could zumba with you. I need every single thing about it.

    Love the Revisionaries. Can hardly wait to join in.

    Gavin is right.

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