I’ve been away from home, from my computer, and from my usual routine. Last week I was in Seattle learning to work with an electronic medical record (EMR) system that Planned Parenthood has just started using in their clinics. All medical care facilities are bringing medical records online, in part because the government offers a monetary incentive to do so. Like most medical providers, I have mixed feelings about them. It’s great to have information easily available and transferable from one facility to another; but it’s awful, in my opinion, to be typing and looking at a screen while trying to have a conversation with a patient. And the entire sense of the patient’s story or narrative gets lost in these systems. Anyway, I’ve used many EMRs before this, and this one is no worse, and certainly no better, than others. Lots of point and click.
Then, I spent the weekend on the Oregon coast at the first Poets on the Coast Writing Retreat for Women, offered by Kelli Agodon and Susan Rich, 2 wonderful and generous poets who made it a very special event for the 17 of us who attended. As a retreat, rather than a workshop, we mostly ate, read, walked on the beach, and shared ideas about writing poetry. It was very relaxing. I believe they are planning to do this again next year, around the same time. I drove back up Route 101 hugging along the Oregon Coast, and it was a grand view all the way.
I highly recommend both of these poets’ recent books: Kelli’s Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press Poetry Prize, 2011) which had roots in the actual Emily Dickinson room at Sylvia’s Beach House at Nye Beach where the retreat was held. (I stayed in the Gertrude Stein room!) And Susan’s most recent book The Alchemist Kitchen (White Pine Press, 2010).
This week I have 2 or 3 days of clinic work ahead, and today I’m trying to figure out a more concrete plan for blogging and poem-writing. I don’t think I can continue to blog everyday and write a poem everyday. I knew this would be a difficult transition for me, this summer of writing everyday has spoiled me. I want to be both realistic and persistent. Blogging daily has been a way of staying alive as a writer, testing my ability to share my particular and peculiar thoughts; and posting poems everyday has been an amazing journey.
I think I’m going to cut down the blog to once a week for the time being. I’m going to see if, despite a new work schedule, I can still get a poem posted everyday. Or close to that.