It's been a minute, but we're definitely further along than we've been. And sometimes, repetition is required.
It all goes much faster after having done it before and working in a back yard is far better than beings squeezed in a cave between a wall, car and motorcycle. Getting the cables off the ground and into their proper places is definitely easier. Parts come this week including--a new stator plate and the throttle cable adjuster, and as usual the work will come down to the details in the fine tuning.
By the by, if you happen to live in Upstate New York, my cousin Jess is looking to open a Vespa shop and she could use your help, if you want to click over to VoteForVespa.com.
I tend to get a pretty decent amount of writing down when I'm working on the Vespa. When I'm focused and working on anything that involves my hands. Max has some ideas about the education systems in this country, and it gets me thinking: in the post-M.F.A. (and M.A.) time, it seems I could either bury myself in the adjunct system making peanuts to teach comp, or use all I've learned about poems and continue to develop raw skills and gain some new ones I didn't have before, maybe move into other professions. At some point in the education, they seem to have suckered us into thinking that if you're going to be a writer, the only way you can making a living is by being a teacher. One job offered me two classes per semester, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, plus a half-hour of office hours per student per week, plus a required 10 hours per month attendance at campus events all for 19K in a one year appointment. Another job would've given me $2,100 per class per semester. Situations like that might be great for some people, but for me, I'd be contacting myself into an extended poetic dry-spell, as well as dependable poverty.
I don't have any classes this semester for the first time in years. No workshop, no thesis credits, office hours or prep-time. Having not landed a full-time tenure-track gig, I'm under nobody's gun to produce and publish except for my own; and with that comes a freedom that is unexpected, yet also kind of obvious. Plus, I've written more in the last 6 weeks than I did in an entire semester at school. Have probably read a little more too. But I was writing and reading before the school. Though the intention was forgotten for a while, I didn't go to school for a professional degree; I was there to learn more about the craft. Maybe one day I'll go back, but in the meantime, there's a lot to learn that isn't in the desk copies.
Seems silly to not give you a poem after all of that. From Tom Thompson's the Pitch:
In this mountain air we achieve
without benefit of any actual mountains,
you can train your body
according to the exacting principles
of your own distinctive pleasure--
she says--if that's what you want
here on this cold stone bench
wet with November's outtakes.