confession tuesday: breakfast, workshop anxiety & the importance of being alone

I confess that the only foods I ate today were breakfast foods. Toast and jam for breakfast-breakfast. Cereal for lunch-breakfast. Pancakes and bacon for dinner-breakfast. I didn’t plan it that way, but it’s the way I would have it every day if I could. 

I confess that I am only talking about what I ate earlier because I am avoiding the anxiety of what I am about to do. Tonight I am participating in an online workshop with the Chicago School of Poetics, which recently launched and is offering a sample workshop for people who want to give it a try. I am one-part anxious because I haven’t done a workshop in awhile. I am another part anxious because I hate the telephone, and to me, participating in an online workshop with my webcam is something like talking on the telephone while also naked. I am another part anxious because I already attempted an online workshop with Stanford, dropped what I consider a chunk of change to do it, and didn’t really have the best experience… apparently the majority of other people who could afford it were retired doctors who thought they would try their hand at “lyrical” this and “lyrical” that. Not that you can’t start writing poetry at any age. But when most of the workshop participants come from a similar economic background, a similar age group, and a similar place of understanding, it’s hard to develop the kind of healthy friction that pushes everyone’s work forward.

Not that I expect a sampler session to put me at ease with all of this. I am not sure what I expect, really. 

I confess that I have felt in a funk the past couple days. Not a bad or depressed or don’t-know-what’s-happening funk. More of a “I’d be happier if I was just alone” funk. Like I need to squirrel myself away and write and think and process. I like living in my own mind. I confess that I may indulge in that too much. My showers go a bit longer than they have to. My eyes always hang out the window if I’m in the passenger seat. I bristle at people trying to figure that out. Or assuming something’s wrong. When it’s just that I need some space. I think I am trying to find my center of gravity. I’m repositioning.

I confess that the last paragraph fell with a heavier thud than what I really intended. Why is it such a bad thing to talk about the need to be alone? Solitude, even isolation, have a bad reputation. Some people consider it heroic that I enjoy going to restaurants by myself. Have you ever enjoyed your French toast without the interruptions of nodding to the breaths of your friends’ conversation and without the need to swallow a little too hard and too early in order to reply? If you’ve never eaten your French toast that way, then you’ve never really enjoyed it. 

I confess that that last nod to breakfast was intentional. Perhaps I will have dessert-breakfast next. Before the webcam awkwardness.