Monday, May 14, 2018

Jónína Kirton : April 30th, 2018

8:00 am – Woke with my eyes full of grit and a face I do not recognize. Something to do with water retention and the way my pillow and my face interacted. I shrug it off, brush my teeth, then boil water for tea.

8:10 am – Tea in hand I join hubby in the living room for our early morning CNN.

8:45 am – I get restless. All those emails are calling my name, so I head for my desk. First, I check Facebook and WORD. It is not my turn. Last Saturday I played JOINTS for 34 points and have been waiting for my cousin to make her move. My joints are stiff. I should probably do some stretches and eat better but there is Room Magazine stuff, Writer’s Studio stuff, Aboriginal Writers Collective – Westcoast stuff, invites to events, people to invoice and then there are those who I need to thank for past events etc. The emails never seem to stop. There is always more. I find myself wondering what a day off would feel like.

9:15 am – I begin to work on a manuscript that I am consulting on. This is probably the fifth thorough read. I have been making notes in track changes for days now but end up deleting half my comments as they seemed too much. Doubt is riding me hard today.

11:45 am – Took a wee break from the manuscript. Had a tea and yogurt with granola and berries. Peeked in on Facebook and saw it was my move on WORD. I played ‘DIM’ for 24 points. Not because I am feeling dim. It was my best move.

12:05 pm – Back to the manuscript. Thinking I will be done very soon but I am so wrong.

12:30 pm – Feeling stressed now so back on Facebook and it was my turn again so played ‘SIX’ for 40 points. I have six books of poetry to read before May 8th. I am on a jury for an important poetry prize. My eyes are already tired. Thank Goddess for these expensive computer glasses. They were a good investment. 

12:35 pm – Checking twitter for notifications and to see what everyone is up to. Retweeted a few things and commented on the hypocritical outpouring of those offended by the White House Correspondence dinner’s comedian, Michelle Wolf. I am thinking if she was a man would there be this outrage and why is the president allowed to call people names and say disgusting things… he said filthy in a tweet about her. Whose filthy… I mean really?

12:40 pm – Outrage is over, and I am back at that manuscript finding ways to offer critiquing that is supportive when what I really want to do is rewrite some of the poems. Did I just say that out loud? There are no control issues here. I am not a perfectionist. But then… I can spend days, weeks and months on a poem, dissecting and analyzing every word, every line and every line break. I have been known to edit a poem until its raw juiciness is lost. I learned the hard way to keep all drafts. Yup, I really could lead this poet astray so remind myself, less is more. That works well with poetry.

1:00 pm – Suddenly there is a strange beeping sound on my computer and someone who appears to be Apple says I need to do a scan. It looks like the Apple website, so I press SCAN and then panic. Within seconds I am on a call with Apple. We spend 45 minutes sorting out how to install malware and do a real scan. There has been no damage to the computer, but I have many other questions for the agent as I have been saving them all up for when I had time to make a call. Things like the fact that I have not been able to access OneDrive since that last MAC update. He can’t help me and fear I may have lost a lot of work. Thankfully, my more recent work is on my MAC and backed up on my Time Machine. I need a time machine… I am running out of time.

1:45 pm – Back to that manuscript and now I am feeling good about it. I think I know what to suggest and where to back away. I know how important it is to not mess with a poet’s voice. Our poet selves can be so fragile. I once didn’t write for a year after receiving feedback that I felt was too harsh.

3:15 pm – I am back on Facebook and playing WORD. I played ‘BONE’ for 16 points this time. BONE is a word that appears in the title of my first book, page as bone – ink as blood. BONE and bones is throughout my writing. Perhaps because mine often hurt. But I digress. The score is 80 to 66 and I am winning. I never win against this guy and so will not get too excited as he has many tricks up his sleeve.

3:20 pm – Back to the manuscript. We are almost there.  

3:45 pm -  I think I am done with the manuscript. I draft an email with my thoughts and spend thirty minutes adding and deleting things I think I want to say. I question myself over and over. Am I saying too much? Am I apologizing too much? Am I making sense? Eventually it comes together, and I press SEND. $350 will be due and it only took me forty hours of work and we are probably not done. I think I should have asked for more money. Will I get quicker at this? Goddess, I hope so.

4:15 pm – Finally took a shower, washed my hair and now a walk but first a few more emails. Did I mention how tired I am? I have sixty-two grant applications to read, four ten-page manuscripts and six books of poetry to read as a judge. Did I mention how tired I am and that the sink is full of dirty dishes and that my taxes are due but not done. It is April 30th. I hope I don’t owe money.

4:30 pm – The walk is lovely. I leave tobacco, offer prayers at the beginning of my walk. The sun is shining, and I am happy to be outside. While walking I come across a new boxing school and they are offering a free month. I have been sitting all day and am in need of a regular exercise program. I peer into the open door and try to imagine myself boxing at my age. I wish it was a yoga studio. I would love to walk to yoga. I would love to do yoga. Next block I come to the Buddhist Temple. I stand outside hoping to hear some chants but nothing. I often stand outside and listen.

I love my neighbourhood, there is so much diversity here.

4:55 pm – I am close to home and just passing my favourite coffee shop. I want to go in and order a hot chocolate with whipping cream, but I resist. They have the best whipping cream, but I have a salad waiting for dinner and just burned enough calories for that. There will be no weight lost today. The best I can hope for is not to gain.

5:00 pm – Back to emails and writing this.

6:09 pm – My cousin rejoins our WORD game. She makes a big comeback with JOLT for 42 points. I am still in the lead with 146 to her 128. And it is my turn. I usually win when we play.

6:11 pm – I put down “QI” for 45 points. I am smiling. My QI is riding high as I am heading off to the kitchen to make my salad and kiss my husband who has just returned from his saxophone lesson. What a patient man he is.

6:23 pm – Salad in hand and heading for the TV I am considering getting back into my pajamas for the evening but resist.

6:25 pm – I am in my pajamas. We watch, Terror and 2 episodes of the The Crossing.

9:30 pm – Hubby takes a smoke break and I peek in on Facebook re my WORD games. My friend, the one that always wins, has played FANAL for 32 points. Is that even a word? I look it up and according to Merriam-Webster it is archaic language for a beacon on a ship or a lighthouse. I feel I am in need of a beacon, a lighthouse to point the way. Being a self-employed writer is not easy. So many decisions to be made, so much to do. I miss the days of just writing poetry for the sake of poetry. Oh, have I mentioned I did not write any poetry today and that I have a bird poem due for a chapbook that will be launched at the International Ornithologists’ Union in August. I have been paired with a scientist working with endangered birds in Argentina. We have talked via skype and I have her field notes for inspiration. So far, I have three lines

in the cavity of this tree   

cooperative breeding

may or may not have taken place

Goddess help me find a way to write about this great scientist’s work with endangered birds.

11:00 pm – Checked Facebook while hubby brushes his teeth. I played SAVIOUR for 92 points. Both the scientist and I are trying to be saviours. She on her tummy in the rainforest watching her wee fledglings falling out of trees onto ledges during flash flooding and me well I am only trying to save myself from the tide of paper, all the things I have to read, review and comment on. My ‘fledglings’ are those I mentor and they are strong and no one is falling out of the nest and onto the ledge if I can help it. 

Jónína Kirton is a Métis/Icelandic poet/author and facilitator. Born in Treaty One (Portage la Prairie, Manitoba) she currently lives in the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh. A Room Magazine Editorial Board member she is one of the co-founders of their new reading series, Indigenous Brilliance, an exciting new partnership between Room and Massy Books. Kirton received the 2016 Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for an Emerging Artist in the Literary Arts category. She was sixty when she published her first collection of poetry with Talonbooks in 2015. Much to her delight, page as bone ~ ink as blood, has received some critical acclaim. Two years later she brought us her second collection, An Honest Woman, again with Talonbooks.  The book was a finalist in the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Betsy Warland had this to say about An Honest Woman: “Kirton picks over how she was raised familially and culturally like a crime scene.” Apparently, all that dreaming about being a Nancy Drew when she grew up did come to fruition. Just not the way she thought it would as a child.

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