Sunday, March 27, 2011

This is not goodbye

Friends and dear readers, it has probably come to your attention that I've been blogging far less frequently than I used to. This is because I'm finishing up a little thing called my master's thesis while also working two jobs. I promise you, come May, the Vagnino Monologues will return to its former two/three-posts-per-week glory. But until my thesis is completed and the semester is over, any time spent writing has to be in the service of my said thesis or the class I'm teaching.

So for the next month-ish, there probably won't be much new content on here, and for that, I apologize. I know many of you rely on my witty observations to get through your mundane days. I hope you will not try to fill the void left by my blogging hiatus with casual sex or meth. Rehab is expensive (I hear).

Till (most likely) May unless I magically get more free time or absolutely have to post,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

O Muse, where art thou?

I'm officially in panic mode regarding my thesis. I have a ton of revisions to work on, plus new poems to generate in order to hit the magic number (48) required for me to get my degree. Sure, I could churn out some crap, but I'd know it and my thesis adviser would know it and while I might still get the piece of paper that says Master of Fine Arts on it, I'd feel like a schmuck, a charlatan.

So I'm calling on the powers of the blogosphere to help me summon my muse. Problem: I don't know what he/she/it looks like.

Eustache Le Sueur, "Clio, Euterpe and Thalia," ca. 1640

Is that what muses look like? If so, they need to get off their lazy asses and come inspire me.

Seriously though, as anyone who endeavors in the creative arts can attest, there is nothing more difficult than knowing you have to produce something RIGHT NOW. That's just not how the process works for most of us. I work well under pressure generally, but I can't just barf out a poem on command. If I do, it will be just that: barf.

I wish I knew more about my muse. Right now, I'm trying to read a bunch of poetry (as well as essays about poetry). I need to have poetry on the brain 24-7, to live, breathe, eat, sleep poetry. Poetry, poetry, poetry, salmon.

Shit. It's Restaurant Week in Boston, so I've been working a lot at Lineage, serving lots of salmon and explaining over and over again what duck confit rillette is. Unfortunately, the brain energy I use at work is antithetical to poem-writing. I wish I could say I'm scribbling sonnets on the backs of menus and discarded napkins, but in reality I'm probably thinking more about whether the woman at table 34 really has an allergy to garlic or is just a vampire, or if the couple awkwardly chatting at the bar is on a first date.

See? This post was supposed to be all about poetry and my muse and somehow, it got co-opted by other things. No wonder my muse wants nothing to do with me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thirty and Flirty and Thriving (?)

I've been listening to this song a lot lately -- "I Don't Feel Young" by Wye Oak, an indie folk group currently touring with the Decemberists.

As some of you know, I turned 30 on Tuesday. And it's true -- I don't feel young. This felt like a significant birthday. I was nothing but excited about it for the months leading up to it; I'm optimistic about the next decade and what it might hold. And yet, the day before my birthday, I suddenly felt a little panicked and sad. My 20s are over and what do I have to show for them?

Well, I don't have a great answer for that. But I don't think I wasted them entirely. I spent most of them in New York, the last few years in Boston. I've definitely had a lot of....adventures. I'll probably have some in my 30s, too. Also, according to my stepmom, in my 30s I am allowed to wear more outrageous outfits and larger jewelry.

And as for my gift to myself? I am actually doing none of the things I wrote about. Psych! However, the solo trip to Spain received the most votes and I am doing something similar -- I'm (hopefully, pending some scholarship money) going on a service trip to China for two weeks in July. I'll spend one week volunteering in a rural province outside of Shanghai and one week sightseeing in Beijing. I'm super excited about it and feel it's a great thing way to travel and also give something back.

In terms of the birthday itself, the day was largely uneventful. It started with my printer deciding to no longer work and almost making me late for a meeting. After my meeting I got a manicure, a fun new haircut and threw myself a party at Marliave, which was a blast. Friends from Lineage, Emerson, and Funkin' A! all represented. This weekend, I'm headed to New York to celebrate with college and post-college friends.

This blog is 2.5 years old and I'm 30. Hopefully, both are getting better with age. I'll conclude here with a great Kenneth Koch poem, a wistful and funny ode to the decade I just exited.

To My Twenties

How lucky that I ran into you
When everything was possible
For my legs and arms, and with hope in my heart
And so happy to see any woman
O woman! O my twentieth year!
Basking in you, you
Oasis from both growing and decay
Fantastic unheard of nine- or ten-year oasis
A palm tree, hey! And then another
And another (and water!)
I’m still very impressed by you. Whither,
Midst falling decades, have you gone? Oh in what lucky fellow,
Unsure of himself, upset, and unemployable
For the moment in any case, do you live now?
From my window I drop a nickel
By mistake. With
You I race down to get it
But I find there on
The street instead, a good friend,
X—- N——, who says to me
Kenneth do you have a minute?
And I say yes! I am in my twenties!
I have plenty of time! In you I marry,
In you I first go to France; I make my best friends
In you, and a few enemies. I
Write a lot and am living all the time
And thinking about living. I loved to frequent you
After my teens and before my thirties.
You three together in a bar
I always preferred you because you were midmost
Most lustrous apparently strongest
Although now that I look back on you
What part have you played?
You never, ever, were stingy.
What you gave me you gave whole
But as for telling
Me how best to use it
You weren’t a genius at that.
Twenties, my soul
Is yours for the asking
You know that, if you ever come back.