Sunday, January 07, 2007

Waking the Poet

from the diary: “Tuesday 2/25/86

“I think Paul [Mariah] is trying to reach out to me. Lending me books, two tonight, Poetry Handbook and On Beyond Koch, a book of kids’ poems and teaching poetry. He tries to think of things, I think, that will help me, and passes them on. The last thing I should be is insulted, as I rather was when he lent me Waking the Poet. ‘Is this his way of telling me I’m not a poet?’ I thought.”

I don’t remember any of these books.

Paul Mariah led a poetry workshop that I had been attending. As I didn’t have a car Mom would come, too. She refused to let me have a driver’s license so long as I couldn’t pay the insurance, and I didn’t have a job so I couldn’t pay the insurance. There were not many job prospects in Sebastopol and anyway I was depressed and having anxiety attacks at the thought of asking anyone for a job. I told Mom “I’d called the Suicide Prevention hotline, got a recording, and decided to watch ‘Agronsky’.” (Agronsky and Company was a PBS political chat show. ) So she called up Don, the man to whom she'd been sending me for counseling. She paid the counseling bills, thinking she was getting better value than if she'd paid the car insurance bill. ... I doubt it. Anyway, Don insisted I come over to Santa Rosa and meet him. I rode the bus. He told me, "'God helps those who help themselves,'" and he "gave me a card with six 'important principles' that I 'must learn' [including] 'life is really yours'." I remember him telling me repeatedly that I had to take responsibility for my life.

He did offer to make an appointment with a psychiatrist who might put me on medication. Oh? I thought. That might be useful. Unlike everything you’ve done up to now.

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