For the first time this week I wrote a poem that felt really a bit scary--not something I normally do. I've been reading Tender Hooks by Beth Ann Fennelly and loving it. I've read it before, but it's such an amazing book and teaching me so much again. She's incredibly open and brave in that book, and it's pushing me to be too, I think. I've been writing poems about various biblical women and about really personal aspects of my body--both subjects I've avoided in the past. But I sort of feel exhilarated, too, so I keep writing.
But this week a kind of odd thing happened. A friend from college asked to see what I was working on, so I sent her a new poem. Her response was positive but really guarded--almost as if the poem had frightened or offended her. This made me sort of freak out too. I haven't been reading any of the poems I'm writing because I feel like I'm surfing the wave a little bit, and I don't want to fall off. Sometimes reading new material makes me stop writing, as I begin to see the mistakes in it. But after her comments, I started reading...but actually like a lot of what I'm doing. So I sent a couple of the poems off to a writer friend whom I really trust, and she loved them, so that was a huge relief. She's typically really honest with me, so I trust her when she tells me to just keep going.
It's getting to be midterm, which is usually when I get too buried in papers to grade. This semester I've really promised myself it wouldn't happen. Fingers crossed! I want to keep surfing!