Class Day One as a Student

So today classes opened in the W’s schedule.  I’ve already posted in the discussion threads for this week so I think I am done.  I am just waiting for the book to get here that I’m supposed to read for this opening of class.  It really makes me ill that I don’t have them all and had to order another one so late.

Found out about another inaugural class member, Allison, that is dropping out.  She says it is only for the fall and I hope she does return and finish her thesis. She is so close to finishing and I hate to see her go without doing so. One guy is coming back, Thomas, and I am glad to see that. We have just a pile of new people and we will see what will happen to all of them throughout the next few years, We have two or three that are finishing in December so we will see what happens with them winding up.

I need to turn in my disability plan for this semester, I never did do one for spring but I have a different  instructor so I need to do that and make her aware of my difficulty,  I need to get in, print that out, and send it back.  I don’t anticipate any problems so it will mostly be a formality. But an important one.

I called Social Security yesterday and reported that I was working and turned in my employer information to them.  Hopefully that is the end of that.  But we should keep receiving benefits  because I’m not earning enough for them to stop.  I just need to keep doing what I am doing.  Because it is working.




Writing My Thesis

Yesterday I took what I have written so far that has been through workshop, read by my professor and commented on, etc. I came up with a little over 100 pages when it needs to be closer to 280.  The good thing is I have 100 pages on the meat of the story, starting when I first became really symptomatic through when I ran away to Louisiana.

So I need about 80 pages on my life  before hand and 100 on my life afterwards.  WIth varying degrees of episodes to talk about, I think I should get to the page count before the thesis year, which I hope to spend refining it.

So we will see.  It will be a long process, but I think it will go well.  The hope is to have a salable book out of it by the time I finish.  I may have a novel as well taking two years of fiction workshop and forms. All I know is that it seems a long time away right now. I’m not quite halfway through the program.

We’re waiting on my mom and dad to pick up the youngest one and spend the better part of a week with them.  They’ll come back Sunday.  I think it’s going to rain the whole time, but maybe not,  Maybe the tropical depression will spin out soon.


So the new site went live with content yesterday and I got almost 100 hits.  They almost all came from Facebook; I had linked it to my personal page and a lot of people read it from there.  I got a lot of support from people and hope it continues.

Today is the last day of the residency.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot about myself and my writing here and a lot about what I can do with my writing to make  it better.  I got a lot of validation but also some suggestions from everybody on what to not to do.  Some pushback, of course, but I think my reading at the beginning blew the lid off and let other people read controversial, brave things as well.

We are workshopping my final piece today–the dancing one.  I really hope to find out what I can do for it and get it out.  I submitted more things last night and pulled Hurricane Baby away from someone and gave it to someone else.  We will see how all that turns out.

Bob and Terrie have already headed out to go to Williamsburg, I think.   He said they were leaving early so that I what I assume.  I so hope she does well.  I so do.  But this is her first real experience being way away and not having us fairly close.  I hope she has learned how to behave on the job and how to keep herself from getting into trouble. That’s my wish for her.




Launch Date

So the new site launched early this morning and had 59 views already, so I am excited for the possibilities for this.  Most of them came off of Facebook, which means all my friends were reading it overnight.  That’s a little scary.  But lovely at the same time.  I’m much more confident in my story than I was when I started Day By Day,

I talked with Mary about it yesterday in my mentoring meeting and she reminded me to make it compelling enough for people ot come back to again and again.  So I reall yneed to step up my game on the micro essays to do that.  That’s going to be a steep learning curve for me redoing the list moment by moment., But it will be fine,

TOday is the next to the last day of residency.  I have so enjoyed this time to just create and work.  Bob says the girls are sleeping in their new rooms, so that takes a lot of work off of me while I was gone.  Hopefully someone has done laundry so I’m not facing a monster lot of work when I get back.

Thanks so much for everyone reading my writing can caring enough to keep coming back.  Check out and bookmark the new site as well.


In Vino Veritas

I have never been around people who drink very much.  But at all of our social functions people here have been drinking and it’s made me a little uncomfortable.  There’s another girl that is sober, too, so that makes me feel less of a freak.  But people say the darndest things when they’re a few drinks in.

ANother girl here is freaked out by my writing and said so last night.  SHe was much less critical than the other one, but she just kept using the words “wild stuff” and “weird”.  I didn’t feel like defending myself last night, I just kind of shrugged and let her go on.  But I was told later be someone who was there that they all agreed it was powerful writing even if it was disturbing.  And this someone stood up for me and my writing, which made me feel good.

I think I’m up for workshop again today with my piece I want to send to Creative Nonfiction.  I’m looking forward to reading it and getting feedback so I can revise it one more time and send it off before the deadline.  So we will see how it goes.



I had a conversation with one of the girls in the program yesterday afternoon. We were talking about a news event and I said that a story I had read for workshop that morning was on the very same kind of event and that was spooky,  Instead of really continuing that conversation, she turned it to my reading the other night.   She told me gently but firmly that she did not appreciate my reading the other night, she thought it was egregiously violent and did not like it at all that I had put it out there because, she said, that kind of thing stuck with her and she didn’t like opening her mind to it.  I said well, you wouldn’t like any of what we read this morning in workshop either.

So she asked why I liked to write about that kind of thing.  I said I didn’t like it and wished I could write about other things.  She asked why I couldn’t.  ANd we went around and around the topic never agreeing but never agreeing to disagree either.  Now I think she thinks badly of me for my writing such things.  😦

So I’m really going to get into conversations with my mentors about this topic and see if they can suggest ways I can change what I write or if I really need to, if there’s a market for what I do at all.   I wonder if we would even be having this conversation if I were a man.




Day Three

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.