Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh Caffeine, Where Art Thou?

I will admit it. I crashed this afternoon, and I crashed good and hard. I attended the second craft talk after the faculty reading after lunch after workshop after the craft talk that was after breakfast. And while it was an excellent craft talk, I was glad it had an excellent handout because I was falling asleep. So, I skipped the graduate reading and headed back to my room. I promptly conked out for two hours before eating another peanut-butter-and-marmalade sandwich over the sink and headed out for the next faculty reading. Which was, again, excellent. Tonight it was Mike Magnuson and Peter Sears, along with Kellie Wells.

I really enjoy the readings. It's really nice to just settle in at the end of the evening and hear some good stories and poetry. And then, of course, after the faculty reading is the student reading. I was hoping we'd have it in the cute little cafe downstairs where we had it last night, but we had it in the room next to where we've been holding all the craft talks and faculty readings. It's a little conference room, and there are a bunch of mirrors on the wall, which are a little disconcerting if you're nervous in front of people.

My group of friend read tonight, among others, so we all got to hear each other's work. The entire reading was fantastic tonight. The faculty reading had great energy and it sort of carried over into ours, I think. I felt my voice start wobbling three quarters of the way through my first poem, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish without choking or bursting into tears. Leave it to me to forget my water bottle at my seat. Still, my friends said they couldn't tell, which is good. It was strange, because I wasn't really nervous. I don't know. Maybe I should carry my Koosh ball and have it with me when I read. It'd give my hands something to do and maybe distract me a little bit. It might be a bit weird, but hey! I could say it's one of my writer's quirks, right?

Of the two craft talks today, I can't really choose a favorite. The first one was splendid, and so full of little jewels of wisdom that I haven't the slightest idea of what to choose to write about. The second was a very helpful 'user's guide' to the sentence. The presenter is a line editor, and he gave us a handout (3 or 4 two-sided pages) made up of his personal pet peeves. We didn't make it all the way through the handout in the actual talk, but he encouraged us to go through it the rest of the way. Toward the end, he included several sentences for us to edit and rearrange ourselves, in order to learn how to edit our own work and workshop others better. Though the talk was mostly aimed at the prose writers, any writer comes to a point where he or she has to write prose (like the commentaries we have to do over the semester). I had to chuckle when I saw several of the habits I have in my own writing pop up on his handout. Lowell is forever telling me that I should look into studying expository writing. That's what his Master's is in, and he just shakes his head when he looks at most of my papers. I know I need to check over my fiction for those mistakes too, since I have about twenty-five per page :).

I keep telling myself I'm going to get my residency reviews done, but it still hasn't happened. I take really good notes, but I'm afraid I'm going to forget some of the most salient points. Which reminds me, I promised a friend the notes on one of the talks, so I better go.

Miss you guys!

~Hannah Mae

P.S. I may need to give in and shell out some bucks for espresso tomorrow. The lack of decent coffee is going to make me either exceedingly unpleasant, or downright mean. I can feel it!

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