So the others have developed a routine of going to Harvey’s for a happy hour immediately following our afternoon seminars but before the nighttime readings. I feel uncomfortable because almost everyone goes and I feel left out. In my more paranoid moments, I wonder if they talk about me and the fact that I don’t drink. Even the others who are on psychotropics go and drink. I just don’t get it.
One guy who lives in Columbus invited everyone over to his house last night for a party celebrating the almost-end of residency and his passing his thesis defense, I guess. I went but only stayed an hour. I have never been around so much alcohol. I left when one of the matrons in our program was nearing being drunk enough that she kept touching my shoulder for support.
Otherwise I have socialized well. We meet up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the cafeteria or at different restaurants. I seem to get along with everyone so that makes me feel good. Some I have been around more than others, so that is just the way that is. I like to think I’ve made friends. We will see.
Residency is almost over. We have today and tomorrow, and I will head back Sunday morning. I’ve enjoyed myself but will be glad to get back home. I hope I will take away some of the habits I’ve learned here about writing and keep them going. I hope I can wake up on time and not have to sleep during the day. I hope I can stay happy. I plan to take my daughter out more instead of both of us holing up in the house all summer. Grand plans, I know. But maybe I can stick to them.
I had a tiny little breakdown yesterday during workshop. One girl turned in some deeply nostalgic pieces about growing up with her grandmother, and I got to thinking about my own grandparents and I was just overwhelmed not so much with grief, but with a sense of missing them.
I got up and went out and sat in the empty student lounge and just bawled out loud, crying. SO that was s but much. I had a crying fit at the last residency I went to–during Tammie’s thesis reading about her son dying. I hope it doesn’t become a pattern.
Otherwise things are still going well–we’re having good workshops with our group–I’m up for workshop today with my latest piece I’ve written. I’m really interested to see everyone’s reactions to it.
WEll, I need to go to get breakfast so I will be settled in for class. Hopefully today with go well with no hiccups. Day by day, I have to keep reminding myself. Take it day by day.
Part of our work here at residency has been meeting with faculty about our writing and what is going on with it. During workshops I have gotten fantastic feedback from my workshop leader, Paulette Boudreaux–she lives in California but grew up in Mississippi and is involved with the graduate program here as a fiction instructor. She has published a novel that got a lot of attention a couple of years ago.
I got to meet with her for an hour yesterday afternoon to talk about what I can do to get that last little edge that is missing from my writing. I was so honored to have her time because she was so straight with me about what was missing from my writing that could really help me with audiences, publishers, etc.
I told her that I knew a lot of times my narrators seemed to be a disembodied voice in the void just talking to himself/herself. She said I needed to get into the interiors with my characters and give a physicality to their feelings. Show the reader what the narrator is feeling rather than tell them. SO now I know what to do when I’m revising my thesis and my fiction. We will see how it goes.
Everything thing else is going well as well. I’m up for workshop for the last time tomorrow. We get a break Saturday since we met early on last Friday; I will use the time to pack my car so I can go home early SUnday.
I guess I will get ready and go to breakfast. I am staving.
I woke up on time but didn’t get up immediately so now I am a little bit under the gun. Had a wonderful workshop of my short story yesterday; my workshop leader made a wonderful suggestion to my story to amp up the impact of the climax and i’m certainly going to do it and soon. SO that made for a very successful day.
Talked to Bob and made sure everything is right on the homefront. They had a lazy Memorial Day so that was good. He said they were holding up well so I am glad.
We didn’t have readings last night since it was Memorial Day so no excitement there. We start them over again tonight. One guy I am really nervous about hearing read. His stuff si way out there, I hear. But it’s only a five minute reading, so–we will see.
I think I am going to run eat breakfast now. Hope everyone has a good start to their week. Happy Tuesday!
So I signed up to be the first reader at the public event last night. I always do that so I can set the tone for the evening. 🙂 I read “Above My Raising” which is my angry piece about watching a Hallmark movie with my inlaws. So people were laughing at the beginning but stopped about halfway through. I was surprised by their laughter. I didn’t think the piece was funny at all. I almost felt like they were making light of my anger? Which is never a good feeling. But I am trying to be chill with it and not let it bother me. Most of the people there were there for the thesis reader, Thomas, who lives here in Columbus and maybe didn’t know what to expect from me. So.
Otherwise everything is going smooth as silk. No one is being a diva about any of their work (except me above) so that is making things very nice. I am having fun talking to people about writerly things. It’s like a class reunion with everyone you liked in your senior class. We don’t see each other in their program since it’s so online except when we get together for the residencies.
I get a fiction piece workshopped this morning so I am looking forward to that. I am trying to decide if I want to go to Cracker Barrell for breakfast or not. if so I need to be getting dressed for that. So I will run and see what is going on with that.
SO yesterday was fun. I got up early and went to breakfast at a cool little coffee shop down the street from campus and came back and did workshop. I was not read that day but had fun reading everyone else’s stuff. The workshops are really positive here–there’s no raking over the coals because we concentrate on what worked in the pieces first and only if the author invites criticism do we offer that. So they’re very gentle and affirming mostly. I won’t be read today either at workshop–my turn is tomorrow. I will be reading a work out loud tonight at a reading, but it noncontroversial stuff I think. (We wiil see!),
Then we had a seminar on drawing up a book proposal/query to a publisher. That mostly applies to nonfiction like what I write but the techniques can spill over into a agent query as well, so everyone got something out of it, I think. It was a good talk. I took copious notes so I can do a better job on the seminar paper tthis time around.
Well, I offered to drive people to the coffeehouse this morning so I need to get ready to go. I will let you all know how the reading went tomorrow and go over the rest of the activities. I’m having some high energy–I am waking up at si without an alarm and I am not dragging around like I do at home. Maybe it’s just being in a different environment.
Here’s to a wonderful Sunday for everyone and a good beginning to your week!
So today was an incredibly busy day of driving, getting settled, working in class, and eating out. So I will post early tomorrow morning on my activities today. I need to get my room together. Hope everyone else had a productive day!
May 25–I meant ot post earlier before I left but I wound up not having that much time before I trucked out. Had a great drive up, almost no traffic until I got almost to Columbus. I settled in at Harvey’s with some colleagues and we had a good lunch as always. Came to campus fairly quickly and couldn’t get into the dorm–no one was here to let us check in.
So after we cleared up that snafu, I got to my room and the tub was grotty–looked like someone had put potting soil in the drain and let it sit. I couldn’t get it out so asked to switch rooms. I had to go to workshop at 2 so I had to hurry through my notes to everyone then run over to the workshop.
They workshopped some of my poems and that went well. We went over other packets and got out just in time to run to the next meeting at 4 for orientation. But it was a really productive session and I enjoyed everybody’s readings.
After the orientation was over I moved into my new room and then went to the restaurant where we ate dinner, Mexican. It was all right, not great.
So today we have workshop, lunch, seminar, dinner, then free time afterwards. Tomorrow we start readings at night–I signed up for the first night as usual so we see what happens.
Well, I am going in search of breakfast and will talk back tomorrow morning about today! Hope everyone is having a good weekend and wish me well as I go through this writing journey this next week.