Last night, Big Red and I went into the city to hear Jan Beatty read her poetry. The reading was held in an artist's loft, tucked in among anonymous housing and commercial property.
Jan was an instructor of mine while I was an undergraduate writing student, and to this day, everything she ever said in a classroom has remained with me. Her poetry is of the caliber I aspire to reach someday, and hearing her read, being in that loft with the steel city bright through the windows in the far off night, just reminded me of that.
Jan is one of those women, at least for me, who is undeniably intriguing. She's the kind of person, who when you meet, you won't ever forget. There's a mystery about her, the way she speaks, the way she looks-that edge; is it okay to admit that I'd like to be some of that?
I know I can never be her. I talk way too much, I'm goofy and an 80s music cheese ball. I'm an open book. She kept her name when she got married, I changed mine. For the most part I'm pretty conventional. No mystery here.
But is it possible to reinvent yourself? No one really knows me here. I could be anything or anyone...
The reading was wonderful and it awoke all those writing pangs. I want to write again. I need to write. I want to be part of that community again. I want to be published. I want an MFA.
I want so much. Where do I begin?
I begin by going to readings and feeling alive. I begin by talking to women like Jan Beatty and Nancy Krygowski (another OUTSTANDING poet and former instructor of mine who was also there last night). I absorb them, their vibe, their energy. Their sparkle.
I brought my copy of Red Sugar for Jan to sign. She wrote, "So great to see you! Happy you are home-write the tough, hard poems."
I want to sparkle.