How lousy do I feel at this moment. I’m sitting at my desk working on my memoir, Nightfall in Verona, a joyous and funny honest to god book it is my determination to complete and try to get into a capable agent’s hands.
But I am tired. I have lived in this community for over forty years and I have two friends, both of them men.
Across the way, in her Victorian mansion loaded with antiques is someone I’ve known for many years. She is an arts maven who founded an opera company here. Until a few months ago we were friends. One day, I was in dire straits when the person I’m closest to became angry and left town, turning off his phone, leaving me with compromised mobility, on the eve of a move into a new place and all of the animals to take care of.
I was a wreck. For the first time in some time, I cracked a bottle of wine. For me drinking is the equivalent of mortification of the flesh. I try not to do it. In my cups, I begged my friend to come to be with me, and she was extremely cold, when I had been there for her in an identical situation. We had hard words.
I had also become very isolated before this incident, and she would call and regale me with stories of how busy she was and trips to Paris with this friend and outings with that one. Because the wine flows at her house, people crowd her kitchen all day long. She creates a flurry of activity, the local cognoscenti buzzing around her. She’s married to a professor who came into some money and there you have it– you get my drift.
I have tried many times to say quietly and gently, please include me, which has done a huge number on my pride. She hasn’t gotten it.
I even courted her by dropping off fresh boules of French bread and pate’ that only I can make.
This kind of scenario has played itself out again and again with other “friends”. A woman who sought out my companionship married a pilot, bought a starter castle of a house in the foothills and curried the friendship of other rich couples in town. Suddenly I was expendable.
That’s how I feel. Like an expendable person. I was close to the woman who happens to be the Poet Laureate of Colorado; she was my mentor and we were good friends for many years.
Things unraveled when she told me one day that she couldn’t remember whether or not I had taken my orals for my M.F.A. This hit me like a ton of coal; I was deeply wounded, and gave her a piece of my mind.
My record of the exam had been in a strongbox in my car that was stolen. The graduate school doesn’t keep records of oral exams. You would think that your committee for your thesis would keep careful records for just such situations, but evidently not.
I knocked myself out finding people who might remember my orals. My outside the department committee member remembered and was going to write a letter saying that, but first flew off to Spain for the summer, where she died in Madrid after getting off the jet, of traveler’s thrombosis.
I reapproached my old friend and advisor laureate with an apology. I got nowhere.
Meanwhile I tried to get reinstated to teach, and was shut out. There went at least half of my career and colleagues.
Writers in our community are chiefly associated with the university and party hearty together. Because I’ve objected to the things that have happened, I’ve been dissed.
I could go on but it would be a boring litany and going over old and painful ground isn’t such a hot idea. I write this to not hide it away inside me where it has been eating away at me for a very long time.
As noted in yesterday’s post, I had a few things happen around the writer’s networking site I’m still on by a thread–literally. When I objected to the lack of reciprocity in commenting on one another’s work, I was told to start another group. People kept saying to me that they don’t have time to critique, which is not what I was asking for. If I comment on a poem in saying, “Beautiful! Write on!” I would hope that the favor would be returned. That takes a few clicks and five minutes. I wasn’t asking for the moon the sun and the stars.
So, cynically, I restarted the extra poetry group I started in the first place and that I disbanded out of respect for the existing group, urging others to join me there.
A lot of this is petty bullshit. But I’ll tell you what. I am so tired of reaching out and trying to make friends that I’ve given up.
Today when something falls apart, I try to practice some Cognitive Behavioral Techniques: to feel the feelings and tell myself that my pain is real and valid and then to let go, to move on.
What helps more, is to do what I’ve always done: to write, to sing, to hold my dog, to nurture myself as in eat, rest, and go out into the day to be among the living. I have survived for 61 years by pulling myself out of deep holes, deep deep woundings, losses, mistakes.
Please, if you comment, do not imagine that I am asking you to psychoanalyze me. People who guide me in my life always say, “Use I statements. Don’t start a statement with “You…” because it always comes off as a criticism, which I and others equate with rejection. And, having had a lifetime of eating rejection soup, I go on the barricades for the sake of my inner child and my right to be who and where I am.
A naked post, out into the void.