It’s my eighth night here and I decided to sleep in my studio at VCCA. Not for any burning artistic reason, you understand. I’m not someone who writes poetry into the wee small hours; in fact mornings are my most productive time. But my studio is a lovely space, while my bedroom is just a room with a bed in it, and no Wifi. Plus, the Fellows residence runs cold, whereas in my studio I’m in charge of the A/C.
Hey! I actually don’t need a reason! The wonderful thing about VCCA is that this is my time, and my space(s) and I can do with them what I will.
And I’ve been productive. Oh yes! I’m writing a sonnet sequence of persona poems titled “Sisters and Courtesans,” which (not surprisingly) allows me to take on the personae of representative (unnamed) female figures in history. The point of the title is that most of the poems we have that survive by women pre-Anne Bradstreet were either written by nuns or women of easy virtue. Everyone else was busy having kids and raising chickens.
I’ve written 24 of these sonnets in a week. (People, that’s 3 sonnets a day. OMG I love this place so much!) Titles range from “My Life as a Vestal Virgin” to “My Life as a Crack Whore.” My favorite is probably “My Life as an Aztec Sacrifice,” which I will be performing tomorrow night with musical accompaniment by E. Shawn Qaissaunee when we do our joint Fellows Presentation, although “My Life as a Canadian Dominatrix,” which I wrote today, probably runs a close second.
I’ve also taken great strides forward in the production of my Alzheimer’s anthology, Forgetting Home, read the material for my upcoming Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline essay on Jahan Khatun, and swum in the lake. A lot. I like the lake.
I guess the point is that I’m happy, and grateful. Thanks to VCCA (of course) but also to my long-suffering husband and kids for sparing me for two weeks. It’s magical and there’s nothing like it. I feel restored. I feel like a poet.