I am learning how simply I can live, I packed four bags for this trip–one for bedding, and with cleaning supplies, and two with clothes and shoes. I have my computer, clock, cellphone, and schedule on my desk; my jumpdrive, my credit card, checkbook, cash, and pens and paper in my purse. My world is bound by Hastings-SImmons, Painter, and Cochran Halls with a straight-line sight path between them all.
I wake up without an alarm with the sun in my face in this small room with a bed, a desk, a bathroom, and a closet. I go to take my meds and grab a Dr. Pepper out of the tiny fridge and a Pop-Tart pack out of the cabinet in my kitchenette before going to the desk and starting my writing, I write first on my blog then do my one hundred words on my new manuscript. I fill the time staring into space or out the window at the bright sunlight across the center of campus. Checking Facebook and email occasionally for messages. Continually amazed at how easily amused I am.
Class will soon begin at 9:30 a.m. We read and critique each other’s works, saying only what is uplifting and striking about each piece. Yesterday we ran out of time talking about my piece, but that’s okay. Another time will come.
Lunch is brought to us magically. I bought and paid for it but did not have to shop, prepare, and cook for it so that is magic enough for me. We sit and talk about writerly things–books, movies, and TV shows, analyzing them all the time why they are so good. Then it’s back to class to e instructed on how to be a writer –build literary community, spread knowledge, and yes–how to pay the bills.
Three months’ pay went into my being able to be here to attend this class. But such concerns seem far away now that I am here.
Tuesday I start one on one conferences with the faculty. Each one is at 3 p.m. so I can have maximum time to rest and recoup before the night activities, WIth Dunkelberg I plan to talk about the arc of the program, why I am taking so long, and what I will take next. With Miller, I will talk about my newest project, the 46ReasonsWhyNot blog and discuss the possibilities with her. With Lee I will ask him about my fiction and nonfiction that he has read this residency in workshop and see where he think I can improve and what I am doing right.
DInner is also magically prepared in the congenial atmosphere of the local restaurants around town. All of life should be this simple, I think. Mexican one night, Thai the next, barbeque one, Italian the other. After dinner are readings of each others’ work aloud in Cochran Hall. It’s funny how amateurish our efforts sound against the work of the published writers. But that’s why we are here, to learn.
I resolve to enjoy this magical time for as long as I can.