I guess it would suffice to blame a new baby with a toddler already on hand for the blog-less year, but in truth it was an older family member's illness, combined with the time devoted to the kids, that pretty much completely took over my life from about the time of that last post until early this April, when my family member finally and rather suddenly recovered.
I don't usually write plainly about very personal events in poems that I attempt to publish, but one of the poems that was just picked up by Ginosko for publication this Fall/Winter (yay!) does talk about this experience. Caring emotionally for a very sick and very close family member, while also caring for a new baby and another very young child, was such an overwhelming experience that it's hard not to commemorate it in some way, because it really did alter my whole relationship with reality, in a way probably only surpassed by the birth of my children.
Basically, life as I knew it in August 2012, before my daughter was born, is barely recognizable to me now. I guess that's how it is with most parents. And it's not like I hadn't heard that line before. But if I'd listened enough to believe it, maybe I would have had kids earlier, so I could get on with this new phase of my life earlier. Because, whatever its drawbacks, it's so much more, well, real. And now that my "real life" is here, all I wish is that there were more of it left. There's so much I want to learn and do, but not so much for myself anymore, to accumulate accomplishments, but instead out of some drive to participate in the world, a drive that's much stronger, for me, than the drive to achieve ever was. I'm brimming with ideas, but my entire outlook has changed, and I'm not sure yet exactly what to do with them. And the unfortunate thing is that, even though my outlook has changed, not every messed-up attribute and maladaptive behavior or cognition has fallen immediately into line. What takes a lifetime to learn to do badly and view erroneously takes more than a few years to learn to do productively and in good health. All the mindfulness training and life-affirming philosophy in the world won't work miracles. During that "lost" year of being entirely engulfed in the role of a caretaker, I thought I had managed to make some kind of leap that would have been otherwise impossible, without that experience of almost losing myself, or my "self." The last few months have reminded me, at times harshly, that I'm not there yet, not even close, really, but maybe closer than I was before, and I guess that's something. So on, on. My biggest challenge lately has been maintaining focus. I have a billion things to read and find it difficult to get through more than a page of anything, and my memory is utter crap. Lack of sleep is a big part of it, and I can try to blame the kids in part for that, but there's also the trap I've fallen into of overthinking everything except the things that could benefit from a little reflection.
So, yeah, that bit of oversharing aside, there's the only real literary news I've had in quite a while, the two poems forthcoming in Ginosko, about which I'm pretty excited because they're poems I'm proud of; they came from an authentic place. Now to try to find more of that, the poems and the authentic place. More difficult than it sounds.