Today is a near-perfect day. We’re enjoying that mildly hot weather with lots of breezes, ruffling the greenery and creating the best kind of fall-asleep-in-a-hammock music. I’ve just come back from a bike ride around one of the small CT lakes – I’m spending the day with RockstarJ and we’re at her parent’s place. She’s just jetted off to southern CT for a paying gig, and I’m spending the afternoon in a hammock, working on poetry and drying off from a swim. Ah, the decadent life. Whirlygigs, wildflowers, that marvelous wind through oak-leaves sound, people walking dogs, cats lazing on potting shed roofs, drying sand flecking off your toes, fast moving pure white clouds on a pure blue sky, the perfect just-giving curve of a taut hammock, chipmunks zipping from woodpile to deck-shadow, no bugs (side benefit of the breeze), the scent of flowers and woodsmoke. This is the kind of day where you’re only motivated by hunger, and not too damn much at that. I’m close enough to bicycle into the town where I work and see the Polish Bakery Girl. Hmm.
And were not even into August – which is my month above all other months. I have spent summers (or large parts of summers) living in all kinds of places – e.g., the Maine coast, inland New Hampshire, the Cape, Scotland, LA, NYC, Boston, Providence, Arizona, the South. However, I honestly have to say that I love central Connecticut. That’s a near completely surprising thing for me to say, given that I spent years 8-18 plotting and praying for my escape from here. I think it’s hard to beat a Providence summer night, esp. a Waterfires night (the day’s are so so). I also have a fondness for the ocean – so it’s hard to pass on the Cape. But even so I do love Central CT, certainly the high summer.
Yesterday went well – the concert was pretty impressive, with the two best sections being a tossup between RockstarJ’s Latin jazz kids (Los Perros Calientes) and Topper’s Trombones. All in all the kids did really well, and it was worth the price of admission to see RockstarJ in civilian teaching clothes. I swung by a bit early and hung out at a museum and a greenery where I had an odd but engaging conversation with the (florist/green-er) guy there. We discussed pottery for about a half hour – odd, since I haven’t had the chance to do that in awhile. (I knew some potters in the South but they never wanted to talk about what they did – always a bad sign I think.)
After the concert, J and I went to the Bidwell Tavern for dinner and drinks – the Bidwell is one of those east-central CT institutions, located in Coventry (I think – I always drive through Coventry to get there.) Afterward we chilled at H’s and J got tipsy and sang a bunch of E.Fitzgerald tunes. Apparently there are some tensions in two of her bands – she’d like to shake things up and do, say, a torch song or two, but each of the bands are into “their own sound” and are resistant to the idea of covering or writing something that strays too far from their default “sound.” Which strikes me as a recipe for being boring. I think there’s a poetry parallel – often I see poets enamored of their own voices to the point where they become constrained by them. Sometimes, when I’m teaching (and for myself when I’m not) I ask my students to take a survey of their most recent poems (generally about 25). I ask them to list the style, number of lines, and to note any parallels (lots of long sentences, lots of dialogue, lots of fragments, etc.). The goal is to figure out just what you’ve been doing with your time and hopefully expand your stylistic repertoire, or at least reduce your dependence on the “easy thing” (whatever it is) that creeps into your poems. I mean, there are promising poets out there who have never written a three line poem. (In part, I think, because of the constraints the publishing industry places on writers, but that’s a topic for another post.)
Today had the potential to be another crazy run around day. CoffeeGoddess is having a shindig out at their lake – and while I’d normally be up for that it would involve a) talking about work, for which I am not in the best frame of mind, and b) drinking heavily and engaging in water activities. Although there were (and doubtless will be) many weekends where I’d kill for such, I currently just need some non-social chill time.
Below is a picture of RockstarJ and MightyJoe going to work - it's from the music festival.