Monday, November 30, 2009

Diving Into The Wreck.

I don't have my diver's certification but it doesn't stop me from diving while I'm in Mexico. The hour pool lesson you get is enough, I suppose, to put your life in the hands of a 2 foot tube with the lines of my favorite poem "Diving Into The Wreck" by Adrienne Rich running through my head the whole time.
"I put on the body armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask"

"I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun flooded schooner but here alone."

You can't talk to anyone else while you are diving. The world goes on blue mute and thoughts from the very back of your mind can come floating in. Thousands of miles from Madison, Wi. and 35 feet below the ocean with sea turtles and eels I run into myself at age 21.

At the ripe old age of 21 I had decided that Mexico would be a great place to write, drove down to Juarez and paid a woman at the Mexican border $80 to watch my car for a month. I hopped a bus not knowing its destination and hoped my truck would still be there when I got back. I don't know if I would have the balls to do it now. I read the news too much or have grown out of my recklessness.
"My flippers cripple me"

I had come up with this idea of writing in Mexico not because I am a brave and adventurous soul. I was there because I was fresh off of my unceremonious departure from the Iowa Writer's Workshop where I had written for hours a day to get them to let an undergrad like me in. When they finally relented to my constant badgering and agreed to let me attend the classes, I showed up expecting adoration from my writer peers like I had received in my undergrad classes. Most of them didn't like my writing and one guy who already had a book deal (he tells us this within the first 5 minutes of the class) showed up and said that he refused to read my entry. It was quote really a piece of crap end quote.
That made me go all the way to Mexico.
"I came to explore the wreck."

I ended up in a tiny town late at night hoping that the small hotel in my Mexico book would be open and when it wasn't (It had been closed for years) I asked the last shop owner who was just closing up what I should do in my terrible spanish. He tells me his friend can rent me an apartment if I go knock on her door. This leads to my beachfront apartment writing about sharks for a week which never sees the light of day in my writing workshops. It is years before I show any writing to a living soul again.

How funny that my sister's gorgeous wedding brings me face to face with this. She is moving forward into a new part of her life and I am moving backward to Iowa City and poems I haven't read in years. The trip surprised me and now that I'm back, I'm not too sure what to do with it.
You know how when you come home from a long trip you want to just give up everything and open a taco stand somewhere?


Anonymous Ryan Paugh said...

Escapism always brings me back to the things I love the most. But one thing I've realized is that I don't need to escape in order to reignite a passion. I just need to try new things, change a few habits, keep things interesting.

November 30, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

I don't know if it's escapism..... I think it's more that a few days away give me a perspective on things that always throws me for a loop. :)

November 30, 2009 at 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often find myself just thinking, leave already and explore the world while you're young and can. And all I keep asking myself is, "which way to Wonderland?" That's what I'd like to find. A world where nothing is as it seems and everything is a mess. Where I can dine with a mad hatter and befriend a talking cat and learn to look past the looking glass. :)

I loved this post xx. Glad to know Mexico was great, I sure do miss it sometimes.

November 30, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

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