Bienvenidos a microlandia!

The Blue Christmas Party, last night, was great fun. Hearing John Dufresne, Diana Abu-Jaber, et alia read excerpts from the anthology lifted my spirits. (Of course, the blue mojitos, cake, and jelly orange slices didn’t hurt–neither did the friendliness of the audience. I ran into more than a couple of people I’d met earlier…)
Sunday morning rolled around, and found me in a funk. Took a little while to get up, but my cat, Ten-Ten, got fed, and so did I (peanut butter toast and iced coffee). Thankfully, I took an umbrella, or the squally weather would have kept me inside.
Divine Liturgy was good, though at several points I did feel that I might burst into tears. But the service passed without drama, and afterward, there was a rehearsal for the Christmas pageant–followed by lunch at Maroosh. The mezze alone were filling, and the kebabs (chicken and kofta) left me a little stuffed. Sadly, I did not snag any baklava or coffee, but that might have been overkill.
Came home, did a little washing, and took a nap, Ten-Ten curling into me. Woke up an hour later, got out. Tried to drop off a few DVDs at Ozzie’s–not there, so I just walked on.
I’ve been rereading Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, and mulling over the nature of this shadow sharer in my life. I suppose I’ve wanted to understand what this depression is, what triggers it, how it comes and goes, since I was a kid, and experiencing the pain and strangeness of my family’s disintegration. (Nineteen seventy-five was a traumatic year, let’s just say.) I’m not a psychologist, but I have learned a few things over time:
depression is pretty slippery and mutable; it never affects the same way twice; it has flared up around the holidays–and more recently, around the birth-and deathdays of my parents; it’s often accompanied by anxiety, which leaves me feeling dumbstruck; and I wonder how I can find a way to communicate what is going on.
People are kind (in the main), and when they advise me to take supplements, cheer up, buck up, yadada yadada, they do so with the best of intentions. Comforting, yes, but more often than not, frustrating. If I could flip depression off and on, oh, do believe I’d try to permastick the switch in the OFF position. It’s not as though I wake up and say to myself, “Hey, today I’m just going to spend the day shambling along like a sleepwalker. No–better yet–I’m going to stay in bed, sleep the afternoon away, and just pass time listless and apathetic. Call it a plan!” But I digress.
Working retail during the holidays has always been a draining experience. Between playing diplo with customers, fielding advice, the nonstop sensory assault of decorations, bad music, and the compulsory cheeriness that one must show in public, I’m surprised that I haven’t come to despise the season altogether. The last two Christmases have been stressful in their own way; I honestly did not want to spend the last one with D and his family. Not that they weren’t lovely or gracious, or that the dinner and company were horrible, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness that I couldn’t spend the time with my parents, my maternal grandmother, or my great-grandmother. Yes, it was wonderful to read Brodsky after the Nochebuena dinner; thoughtful to receive a cute bit of wall art; enjoy sangria and eggnog. But I wanted my mom. I wanted my dad. Kind as they all were, D’s family was not my family! And after the festivities, I felt guilty at the relief of not having to put on a face for company.
Moving along…
I wrote several micropoems today. I didn’t get much done yesterday with Set List, but writing lifted my spirits somewhat. I am toying with the notion of putting out a collection of micropoetry–but let me finish the first collection and get that published before I wear myself out! Since I have composed bilingual micropoems (Spanish-English, Spanish-Portuguese), Microlandia may make a great title. What d’you think?

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Past the halfway point…

I’ve gotten about 19 poems transcribed for Set List. And I’m pleased–though a bit upset, too; I’ve been going at a slower pace the past couple of days. I’ve been debating whether to expand, but I think it best to concentrate on the poems I’ve already designated for this volume. If there is an “Encore,” it will happen after I’ve gotten all the work onto flash drive.

I’ve also–finally, finally–gotten an interview. It’s a seasonal position at Williams-Sonoma, but still…now I want to redouble my efforts at FYE, Anthoropologie, and elsewhere.
And speaking of the holiday season, let me confess: I am not looking forward to the hype, the frenzy, the overall push to produce the glossy, perfect, shiny-happy tableaux touted by Norman Rockwell, Frank Capra, and Martha Stewart. Oh, I do look forward to seeing the trees lit in and around Coral Gables (and it is lovely to see decorated houses on foot), watching A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life, listening to Vince Guaraldi’s music…and I like the idea of a little DIY decorating–how to keep the cat out of evergreen arrangements, there’s a sticky one…!

I just don’t like the feeling of compulsory merriment, forced togetherness, and false jolliness. That’s all. And that dislike has gotten stronger over time.

Gentle readers, I ask: how do you get through the period between now and New Year’s? Please. Do tell. I’m curious.