Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer is for Sitting

One of my best friends is a girl who likes to sit: at parties, at bars, at antique stores, whenever the occasion calls for standing, she’d like to do the opposite. She came to visit recently and an old college friend of hers said, “Oh we used to say that all the time, ‘H likes to sit.’” He waved his hand dismissively as this was apparently old news. "H likes to sit." She had never really thought of it before. At least not in the way that entailed heavy thinking about ones own habitual behavior.

But now, we get pictures of her sitting in random places all over New York City: one was a picture of her on a fire hydrant next to a pile of trash in midtown, the next was of her in a throne-like chair, which I assumed was at some well-heeled bar in Manhattan, another, my personal favorite—because I am prone to black humor and black spells—was a picture of her sitting in total darkness.

My first thought, when she sends me one of these pictures is, “I need to sit immediately.” I know, I know, there are the recent studies about the dangers of all-day sitting and the articles about how “sitting is actually killing us!” (I own a bike desk that I love, and I regularly use a standing desk, so yes, I know.) But sometimes one needs to just stop moving, stop thinking, stop doing, and just sit down.

This is where I’m at right now. I would like to sit. I survived the winter (believe me it felt just as “Game of Thrones” as that sounds), and now I’m of a mind to take a clue from my favorite take-a-seat-girl, and sit, stare out at nothing, and do the work. Time to make progress on the new book (it’s going, moving, rattling along), time to write more articles, and time read and write more poems. The time of sitting has come. Grab your lawn chair, picnic blanket, bar stool and join me.

And if you’d like to read while you sit, you can sit and read a new poem of mine that came out 18 days ago (but who’s counting) in The New Yorker. It goes good with bourbon. There’s also this poem which was just recently given a Pushcart Prize. Hey, good news comes to those who sit. Now, if only I could write a poem that scratches off lottery tickets for me.

In the meantime, the world and the weather is saying, sit down, stay awhile. 


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