AWP 2014 Tragedy: Missed Panel

March 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

awpChristine Chiosi blogs on the often-difficult re-entry from AWP literary fervor:

Back home from the AWP and still in jet lag mode.  First on the agenda—unpack, laundry, sift through mail.  The bright lights and colors of the book fair still flash in my peripheral vision.  Dust collects on rugs, bedposts, my writing desk.  Yeah.  About that. The writing desk, I mean. Hello, Mr. Writing desk. How’d you fare while I was gone?

No way I’m sitting in that desk chair right now.  I have enough journals (and enough kindling) to torch Rome, enough new poetry collections, memoirs, novels, to keep me busy for a decade.  How’s a gal supposed to write surrounded by all that?  Simple, my right brain answers:  Put your fingers on the keyboard and fly!  Okay, but just for a few minutes.

My first written lines—a poem about Hermes checking into the Seattle Sheraton.  Then another load of laundry.  A second work describing a date between Hera and Jack Nicholson that never actually happens. She stays home and fixes Zeus a casserole instead.  As a work, it’s only so-so, but it keeps me entertained.  The phone rings.  Local hospital asking me to pay a $900 bill for a procedure that was supposed to cost $275.  It was only an estimate, the representative argues.

Last night watched Strapped on Hulu while waiting for a call from Urgent Care where my mom had checked in with a fever and palpitations. Very racy movie.  Interesting.  Dark.  Aye Dios Mio! Mom wails into her end of the phone, a few hours away from mine.  Christine, don’t let me die. Is this hyperbole?  Is she critical?  4AM and they transfer her to a hospital.  Pulmonary embolism, they say.

Putting out the trash.  Fixing my Wi-Fi connection. Packing a suitcase for a trip to Mom’s.  Cancelling Friday’s appointment with the shrink, Saturday’s appearance at the Philadelphia Stories opening for Extraordinary Lives, which features one of my poems.  Cold lasagna for breakfast.  Two Tastycakes for lunch.  Third cup of black coffee today.  Folding.

Thinking about that novel I’m working on, set during the Civil War, wherein the main character does or doesn’t commit murder.  Thinking about that panel at the AWP discussing how to write about murder.  Thinking about how I couldn’t get into the room, because there wasn’t an empty seat in the place.  Thinking about murder—how am I suppose to write a murder into my novel?  I’m mostly a poet, for godsakes.  Thinking about checking in on my second load of laundry in the dryer.  In the basement.  Is it dry yet?  Thinking about how or wtf! or why I should pay that extra $700 to the hospital, when they  ef’d up on the estimate.  About whether I should shovel snow today, before I drive a few hours to see Mom in the hospital, so I won’t get fined by the township for not shoveling snow off my walkway.  And thinking about when, when, I’ll get back home to my writing desk.  About whether an entire manuscript might grow from my nascent poems.  About writing.  About murder.  About how to write one as if someone is actually doing it.

Retiring early from the practice of medicine, Christine Chiosi, now spends her time writing poetry and short fiction. Her poetry appears in several journals, including Painted Bride Quarterly, Carpe Articulum , CloudbankSierra Nevada Review, and was featured on-air by National Public Radio.  Currently she is enrolled in the doctoral program in Medical Humanities at Drew University, focusing in the area of Narrative Medicine.


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