Good Evening, World,
Here, where I sit on the fourth floor of the dorm room, it sounds like the crickets are singing. And if I try hard enough, I can convince myself that it really is crickets, and not the fluorescent light above my head buzzing like a ticked off horsefly...Thank goodness I never had to live in the dorms in Zoo Town. I would've gone postal.
Today was the day! For two big things, really. All of you out there who know me know that I can be ridiculously overcommitted, to the point of completely wearing myself out. ("No!" You say. "Not you!" ...right? :P ) So today I did not oversleep as much as I planned, and I almost did not miss the first craft talk of the day. Instead of making it my ambition to go to every single one of these things, I have made it my ambition to skip one each residency, on principle. Well, today I skipped the long form prose talk (which, afterward, my workshop leader said had incredible insights and was invaluable for poets as well as the prose writers. My only consolation was it didn't look like anyone else in my workshop had attended either), AND the Get a Job Teaching at the College Level talk. Two! I was so proud and terribly disappointed in me.
The other big thing to happen was (drumroll please):
Student and Advisor pairings!! *ta-da!*
The events I did attend were:
Workshop, which was wonderful, although we were running a skosh bit behind and wound up staying in our room a half hour late in order to get everyone's poems done. But we got them done, and it was a very good two hours.
Lunch, where I was seated with Craig Lesley, my roommate, and a couple of other poetry friends. Since we got in so late, my workshop mates and myself didn't even have to stand in line. We got right in, got food, got seats. Bam! done. That's the way to do it!
A conversation by the Quad, which involved a couple of friends and it was a very nice hour and a half long stretch of talking about things like faith and facing difficulty, which sounds like a strange thing to suddenly get in to discussing at a school residency, but I thought it was a very good discussion, and it was with some great people.
The Poetry Publishing Panel, (nice alliteration, hey?) The insights from the group were really great. There were four members of the panel, all at different phases of their writing and publishing careers. Some of the main points were: Don't start too early (which was never really clarified...I'm not sure when it's too early, and when it's not.). Remember that editors are people too, meaning a bunch of them have boxes of submissions sitting in their living room, and their personal lives may be affecting their choices. (If they've just had a fight, they're probably not going to appreciate a poem about how sweet marriage is). As always, be persistent. Beware of vanity presses that charge an arm and a leg to pop you right into print.
Leslie Miller, my advisor from last semester, dropped in a helpful breakdown of presses or places to find presses/journals/web-based publications, etc. for various ambitions. If you want to get a great resume, start ___________. If you want to just pad your resume with a bunch of publications regardless of prestige, start ___________. If you want to get in on meeting some other poets, or if you want to submit to theme publications, or if you want to get in to some new hip trendy publication, start _________. (If you want the actual info, message me and I can get you some of the stuff off the handout.)
Marvin Bell reminded us that publishing a poem is not a mark for or against it. And to remember to cherish rejection letters.
Everyone made sure to remind us to keep records of where the submissions are sent and when, to withdraw simultaneous submissions, to keep the best rejection letters, and so forth. They advised sending out to about 30 places at a time, just to have things out and keep yourself in the spirit, since it can be quite discouraging.
After the presentation, I dragged myself back to the room and just about fell asleep on the couch. A bunch of the poetry girls were going to head for dinner, but once I got the idea of the size of the crowd, and the thought of trying to pry my eyelids open to stay awake through dinner, I decided I'd stay in and rest a little bit. I do feel bad, and I think it would have been fun to go. Although, I heard the restaurant was not well suited to such a crowd, and so those who went were sort of relegated to conversations only with those immediately near them.
The reading was not the best I've ever been to tonight. Marvin Bell was, of course, Marvelous, but the other two readers didn't seem to have as much craft supporting their pieces as I had expected, and I was a little bit disappointed.
The Pacific literary Journal, Silk Road, had its release party tonight. I went along, had a cookie, and stood under a tree whilst people milled around in front of me. From that I managed a conversation with the assistant director of the program (who is SUCH a sweetheart and she's so amazing. They all are. I really admire them!), a first semester student who I've been running into everywhere, and the novelist Bonnie Jo Campbell who is also a real sweetheart, and quite fun to talk to.
I was (you'll never believe this) on the verge of trying about a half inch of white wine. It took me 45 minutes to decide to have some. I stepped out of the tree I kept finding myself standing deeper in, down to the girl who was serving the wine. I asked her if she had the tiniest bit of white, she said yes, but she needed to see my I.D. ...EVERY blasted event we've been to on this campus that has wine, I have left my ID in the room. EVERY time. *eyeroll* Ah well, I didn't need it anyways, right? It was still fun.
I came back with my roommates and we talked about the upcoming meetings with our advisors. None of us really knows what it is we're planning on doing. We all have ideas, but the farther we get, the harder they seem to be to explain. I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do about why I can't explain...
Ok, ok, I was trying to build a little tension there. I've been assigned Peter Sears :) He's such a wonderful fellow, and I've had him in workshop twice now. It will be interesting to see what a semester studying with him is like :)
And with that, I'm going to hit the hay, because it's 1:30 my time, and I'm planning on being at the a.m. craft talk. With coffee. And some form of food. Because this not eating thing, although it doesn't bother me at home, is not working in the mornings here (yes, I still eat lunch and something for dinner, please don't assume I'm not actually eating). So I shall see you all soon, possibly some of you tomorrow, and for you out there, stalking me, who wish you were here, cheers to you! I miss your weird ability to be standing in front of me wherever I go.