Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Quiet Days

August 7, 2010, 17:38:04

Day 2: Madison NJ

There is something about being here that reminds me of the carefree, idyllic summers of childhood.  It is not so much being around other writers, as it is being around nature and silence - which is so centering and restorative.   I spent a good deal of the afternoon today lounging in the shade of a tree, reading all the workshop writing I needed to catch up on.  The weather is a dream - not too warm, with an intermittent breeze.  I've fallen back into the rhythm of life here easily.  Sometimes I wish it could always be like this.

During the day, there are workshops and writing exercises and breaks for solitude.  At night, we party with the best of them (albeit often frugally).  I often get the feeling while in the moment, that I am making memories to last a lifetime.  Last night, we went to the hotel bar for drinks after having a few glasses of wine and beer at the Reception dinner and then Becky, Drew, David G., Jeff and I lazed about the fountain for a while - laughing and telling stories.  David G. has a fantastic talent for describing different people's walks.  Mine was aptly described as "lazy flouncing" or "sensual, knuckle-dragging" (haha!)

I've promised myself to spend tonight in, trying to frantically gather the mish-mosh of chapters of my book to submit to my fiction class and to write up a draft for my non-fiction elective.  I'm having a great time, but missing the boy of course, as everything without him seems to pale next to everything with him.  Today was a relatively easy day - individual meetings with David Grand and Walt Cummins in the morning to discuss my projects and one afternoon Prose workshop by Tom Kennedy on Recognizing the Details.  Dinner's at six, followed by a directed reading (Lost in the Funhouse) with Martin Donoff and Ellen Akins.

Today's piece of harsh, but honest wisdom provided by David G.:  "Do you want to be a Barista forever?  It seems a considerable waste of talent."

Those words are truly resonating with me.  I feel like I wasted a lot of my time this summer, which I could have spent writing.  Going to be more dedicated and disciplined in the fall.  Swear it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

And so we came to the end...

August 6, 2010, 16:01:00

Day 1: Madison NJ

I realize my blogging stopped abruptly in London and I'm hard-pressed to find an excuse, except a general one.  Life!  What I will say is that England gave me a lot of time to work on writing and blogging; the atmosphere (dreary) lent itself to many long, toasty evenings shuttered inside the library, typing away. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time in good 'ole GB and returned State-side in one piece.

I'm back in Madison, NJ now for my final residency and I'm greeting it with a mix of excitement and trepidation.  I feel like each residency has lent itself to a significantly different version of me - last August I was single, bubbly and excited to meet new people.  It was right before my trip to Peru and several months after a devastating breakup.  I didn't turn down a beer or a smoke or a even a dip in the campus fountain.  In January, I was more reserved - missing home and the boyfriend, slightly out of my element - I spent a lot of time alone in contemplation or with only one or two other people and did a great deal of writing.  I'm not quite sure who I'll be this time.

I'm sad it will be my last time with all these wonderful people, as the residencies have left a lasting impression on me.  I'm also scared of the fact that this is my last year - to do some serious work on my novel, to get my thesis together and to prepare myself for a new career in teaching.  So many changes are ahead and I feel like I've just gotten the hang of this whole thing.

Ran errands like crazy this morning - finished packing, fed the cats, took out the trash, returned library books, filled a prescription, got some groceries for the dorm...Settled in completely around 3:00 (it's surprising how fast you can build a life!) and read some of the workshop pieces in my room.  Waiting now to go pick up Drew and Becky from the train station.

Thinking of our first night together last August; how we went into town and had slices of pizza and beer outside a local pie shop together.  How everything seemed full of there was the feeling of creating a new tentative and exciting it all was. Will try not to think of this as an ending.  Good friends last a lifetime.