The editor sent an email today that she’s sending edits on Informally Yours. This book was such fun to write. Two years ago Allan Wolf and I thought of the idea on the plane home from IRA — a book of boy/girl love poems. We had known one another since the 1995 National Poetry Slam where his team beat my team to take first place because I went overtime and we lost by .6. Not that I dwell on such petty trivia, you understand, I barely remember it. Right. It was like missing a lay up in the final moments of a championship game.
Anyway, Allan and I have been friends ever since. Not calling friends, but speaking when we see one another and respectful, feel free to call for advice friends. Now, after writing this book, we REALLY know each other. In order to write our adolescent love poems, we had to talk about all the geeky, paralyzing, heart stopping memories stored in our own experience databanks. Confessions. Revelations. OMG, you’ve got to be kidding me stories. Like the time I was sitting in the movies with a date and he passed me the sweet tarts and his hand brushed my knee and I almost threw up. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a sweet-tart since. The first line of the resulting poem is: Do not bolt screaming, clutching all your stuff.
That’s the thing about memories. You think you put them to bed and the pesky things keep crawling back down the stairs. Bunch of intruders, memories. Like the time I went overtime on the stage of the National Poetry Slam and . . . STOP IT. GO TO YOUR ROOM!
I’m sitting here waiting for Allan to call so we can discuss the pictures for the book. This is the first time I’ve sold a book with the artwork. These are photos that Allan and I took and I doctored up on photoshop. The editor said she has made her comments on the manuscript. It’s time for the editing to begin. This is the work of writing. The weighing, tossing, pruning, straightening. Something to look forward to.
And the truth about that sweet tart story? I had been widowed once and divorced and was out on my first date and it suddenly occurred to me that there weren’t parents at home to set the boundaries. Who said adolescence ends at 18, or 16 or whenever it is supposed to be over?
Maybe adolesence is like the past. It’s never really over. Not in my line of work, anyway. It’s listening on the staircase, making sure I get it right.
I wonder if the phone will EVER ring?