Begin Again

by Jeff Oaks

We finished our taxes last night, sent them off to the federal and state authorities, and got emails of acceptance within an hour.  The money’s of course mostly already spoken for–we built up a lot of debt last year we need to pay off or down–but we set some of it aside for little things we’re each doing this year. Unfortunately, the furnace is at last ready to be replaced, and we’ll be back into debt just like that. But we’ll be warm and will likely save something in the long run because of increased efficiency.

January: named for the god who looks simultaneously forward and backward.

What’s ahead? I’m trying to decide. I have a book of autobiographical prose I’m trying to finish–it’s complete but needs revisions to a couple of essays. Creative Nonfiction, the journal, just accepted the last essay of my collection for its Marriage Issue, which makes me very happy. I’m rereading that essay, thinking about what I want to change before it becomes public. I wanted the book manuscript to be done by now, but I’ve had a hard time finding enough time and ruthlessness to do the necessary cuts and rewrites a book deserves. Just when I think I can find some time, there’s a series of new initiatives that I somehow get involved in.

Lately, because we’re hiring a faculty member who might add digital work to our Writing Program, I’ve been looking at the exploding world of digital work. My friend Erin Anderson is my connection to this. You can see/experience some of her beautiful work at her website here.  I’ve already been thinking about some things I’d like to try to create. Erin, who teaches this new form, calls this kind of work digital narrative, and that seems as good a word as any other. She comes at it as someone who studied oral history, who has a phd in composition, and who has taught herself coding. I’ve already written her to ask for some practices a beginner like me might start.

One of the blessings I had when I first began to write was that there were centuries of poets and writers to read, surprise, and challenge me. The possibilities of this new form (is it new multi-media? digital narrative? electronic literature? cinepoetry?) seem at this moment endless. I’m feeling the pull of it, whatever it is. How will I use what I know as a poet with these new programs/platforms/software? You will likely see some of the results of my experiments here, since this blog has felt like it needs a little freshening up, a little more experimentation.

Janus, the god with two heads, the god of the thresholds, archways, beginnings.  I woke up to freezing temperatures and it’s expected to reach the mid 50’s this afternoon.

 

 

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