Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cosmic Debris

I've been reading, hearing, and viewing photos about the current state of ye olde homestead in Owen Co. (I didn't go looking for info, for the most part; it came to me, via various sources.) Any attachment I had to the place, which was deep no matter what anyone might surmise, I severed long ago, mostly for my own peace of mind. It just wasn't healthy for me to care anymore. It isn't my problem -- and once my ex refinanced, it legally wasn't my responsibility either. I haven't been out there since she ousted me in Oct. '05 anyway, which, in the long run, really is for the best too.

Apparently, though, the "tenants" she had installed when she left the state were/are serious hoarders. I don't mean they had a bunch of cars up on blocks and collected Precious Moments figurines and state park shot glasses. From what I've learned, we're talking meth lab-level sanitation practices. I won't describe it beyond that. It makes me irrationally sad and angry. I'd rather feel sorry for the family at the moment. It reminds me, though, of a somewhat similar situation at some friends' place down the road in Owen Co., when I still lived out there, which devolved very quickly from idyllic back-to-nature minimalism into paranoid OCD squalor. Not nearly as bad as my old place now, though. There were no children involved.

I think of how beautiful life out there was and what an all-around broken dream it's become, for the house's original owner/builder right on up to today's renters. I've given myself, with time and perspective, a TON of credit for having made rural life enjoyable. I really did enjoy it, all the struggles and worries as well as the gleefully transcendent moments. I mean that's life, no matter where you live, right? But all the crazy backwoods stuff you have to do to live within the woods (as opposed to just in or near them) -- I loved that shit. Sometimes I think I even miss it, but right now, just the good stuff, especially with fall and firewood season approaching. It sure was frustrating at times, though, especially upon learning mine was not considered an equal share of the land. Walking away from it was hard, but I was heartened by the notion that the plans my ex and I laid out together would go forward, just not together. But, once again, this was not to be. Not on that land anyway. And that too is not my problem or responsibility.

A friend asked if I would have been interested, at one point, in buying the place back, if that had been an option. Given the clear-cutting of the surrounding forest; the landfill the houses have become; the long-ass, expensive commute to get to where life is happening for me now; and the extreme isolation (given the lack of friends/friendlies in the area) such a location would afford: no. That ship has sailed. And I'm healthier and happier waving bon voyage instead of eating Dramamine like Chic-lets and praying that's not an iceberg on the horizon. Without the network of family and friends it took simply to make the place livable, I'd probably have ended up trying to unload it on someone too. And I'm not sure what I'd do if I were faced with mountains of human detritus.

Of course, cleaning out the barn, largely by myself, at the Unionville house was no picnic either. But that was back at the beginning of something, not the end.

Anyway, this situation makes me sad, and angry, and I'm sorry my ex has to deal with it now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I have been funded!

I won the 2007 Greer Foundation Fellowship for Creative Writing from the Bloomington Area Arts Council!

More about the foundation and fellowship here.

Basically it's a monetary award to further my mid-career artistic endeavors. I'm planning to use it to attend a workshop/retreat in 2008 to finalize and polish a chapbook manuscript I've been working on since around early 2006, then submit the ms. for publication, especially to publishers holding chapbook contests.

This fellowship has been on my radar for a looooong time (seriously, since about the 2nd Ceilidh), but it's only offered every other year and, like a lot of other awards/contests/important-to-me writerly things, I kept missing the deadline.

Let's hear it for persistence and patience!