excerpt from letter to my father

I’m mulling over the MFA issue (and receiving no small amount of pressure from Mom to pursue it) and it’s leaving me rather cold, suddenly. Then again, so is library school, or more school in general. I realize I am pretty moody – by that I mean my moods shift regularly, not that I am sullen or filled with ennui – and that what occurs to me to be a great idea a month ago is no longer such a great idea.

I like my job, but it’s not a passion and I don’t think I can be promoted here at Dominican, and who would want to be anyway? I get enough crap dumped on me at this level. My new boss (the Dean) arrived yesterday and I think he’s going to do a lot of good here. In some ways I feel like I am seeing the library into good hands, and will only feel good about leaving if I see that it’s going to be taken care of. It’s become a home to me, the one constant in a very rocky two years, and a place where people like my interim supervisor, when handing over the torch to the Dean, say, “What can I say about Halsted? She’s a great, hard worker and always has a smile for everyone.” My previous boss has said I have completely turned the circulation department around. Little milestones, big enough for me, but they never seem to be big enough overall. Libraries are important to me, but poetry fuels me.

Sometimes I think I was born never to want to settle in one place or one job, to wander randomly and meet people and write and read and do little things, to be a good person, a good friend, to volunteer and help out where I can, to not take up much space and be considerate of the planet, to think about the Big Questions. There are only ever more questions, and answers become less important. I have no idea what it all means and the only thing I ever get afraid of is sometimes when I am getting ready for bed that I won’t wake up in the morning and that it’ll all be over; even if I have no idea what I’m doing with it, I still love my life.

I think this may be the crossroads that some people reach and just … have a baby. I can see the draw now. Something that connects us to each other, to the planet. A common experience that, while being chaotic, Makes Sense. Fits. Has a purpose.

I think that’s why I have to go to Europe now. I have to see what’s beyond this little life and connect with the rest of it before I get so crazily muddled up in What I Did Not Yet Do and, worse, What I Fucked Up, because, in relative terms, there’s so much. I have never done anything the easy way, and I know now that’s subconsciously intentional, because if I do things the easy way and screw them up, then WOW, I have REALLY screwed up, as opposed to screwing up things I did the tough way – hey, they were tough!

This wasn’t even meant as this whole self-indulgent, introspective overview of The Lack Of Meaning In My Life. If I weren’t a poet, I’d probably do heroin. However, I love my brain too much to sacrifice it at the altar of stupidity. I was always confused by the poets who did massive quantities of drugs. It’s like trashing one’s prized guitar at the end of every rock concert – those people confused me too.

So did you hear about Pete Townshend? He was doing research, by the way. I am sad.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.