Get Your Poem On/ 21 Sometimes the Conditions Inside and Out Are All Wrong

Mindy August 2013 Herald Square cc As the school year comes to the final days, lots of work with deadlines has piled.  I took lots home this weekend.  I didn’t see any other way.  However, halfway into the weekend, I still hadn’t done anything with it.  So I decided to let myself do something else, and maybe that would get things in motion.  There was a writing workshop that sounded good on paper.  I was allowed to register up until an hour before it would start.  It was free.  I told myself to get up and do something.  The discouraging part was getting there.  Either two buses or a train and a bus. 
I took the train first and that went quickly.  It would be great if there were a more direct route.  When I got off the train, I was in a neighborhood adjacent to the one I grew up in.  It had been a long time since I’d been walking around there and I was no longer familiar with the layout.  I walked downtown when I needed to walk uptown to the bus stop.  In those minutes, I missed the bus.  By the time I got on the next one, I was definitely going to be late.  Then there were wheelchair ramp problems, and the ride took much longer than normal.  I was 45 minutes late.  I went in hungry and with a headache. 
The first main exercise already happened.  People were sharing what they wrote and receiving feedback.  The workshop leader winked at me.  From a distance, my sight is a little blurry, so it took a couple of minutes to realize that I knew the woman leading the workshop.  And as a person, I didn’t like her.  This is where Googling would have been a time-saver.  If I’d seen who she was in pictures, I’d have recognized her.  We briefly had once worked at the same job.  I remember wanting to like her initially.  Seeing who she was felt disappointing.  I was glad she left or was asked to (not sure how that went). 
So now it is years later.  People grow.  I figured if she was doing this, she has something to offer.  The topic clearly had to do with our mothers.  Everyone was reading about theirs.  I felt like I wouldn’t have been able to or wanted to share about my mother in front of someone I knew as a mean person.  I don’t need to feel any worse than I tend to walk around feeling. 
If it were walking distance from my house, I might have left.  I did step out to get a coffee and donut in hopes of easing the hunger and headache (assuming the headache was from the hunger).  I brought the stuff back in with me, so I hadn’t missed but a few more minutes.  She was assigning the next exercise.  It was built on the first one and used the mother as a character, but this would be in a fictional situation.  It was timed and very little time was given.  I write nonfiction and poetry.  Very rarely is my stuff fiction (though names are often changed), so I needed more time.  I also wasn’t feeling like having my mother be a character.  This is not light stuff for me.  Then she began singing during our writing time which I found very annoying.  In some ways, it felt more about her than it should be.  I wrote a few shitty lines.  No direction because I hadn’t made the decisions one makes before writing, so it was nothing. 
The last exercise was to write a Haiku.  The specific moment she asked for in the life of our mothers was not accessible to me.  I think they were valuable assignments, but they seemed more centered around where she’s at than where we are.  So, no poem either.  There was a general announcement asking people to join the workshop leader and the one who runs the place to eat at a nearby restaurant.  Before anyone could zoom in on me, I darted out of there. 
It was not a day I had patience for the bus ride.  It crawls in traffic and stops at lights and bus stops and just felt so long.  The day and I were just not compatible it seemed.  I felt like I wasted time and carfare.  I wanted to do something to make myself feel treated.  I stopped off at Fordham Road.  I bought myself a dress for the beach.  As I got closer to home, I picked up food, wine, and coffee.  Enjoyed being back home, but still didn’t do my work.

About Mindy Matijasevic

Writer of nonfiction prose and poetry; actress; comic; adult basic education instructor. The name of this blog was inspired by a former student, Camille Williams, who once, in a conversation, used the phrase "get my learn on." I loved it, and it stuck in my head.
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