Saturday, June 25, 2005

School: Day Two-ish

I don't count the first day we get here as a real day, because we don't do a whole lot. But today is the day we started workshops, which marks the real work time. I have my initial, two-day workshop with Paula McClain, which so far is AWESOME--I also have her a mentor this semester, which I'm really excited about. I just really enjoy her poetry, and now I can say that I enjoy her no-nonsenseness about workshopping and poetry and writing in general. She just insists that you work. I need that.

So for anyone out there reading this that actually knows what I'm talking about, I workshopped a sestina today. Actually it's a psuedo-sestina, because it doesn't *exactly* follow sestina rules, but it's close enough for government cheese. Anyway, it was great to hear a different perspective, a "no-nonsense" perspective. It was good to be told I'm being ambitious in my writing, since that has, in the past, been the last thing I would accuse myself of. I am so used to the safe route, but let me tell you--the safe ones don't get far in this business. Just like in music or acting or any other profession that technically requires public approval for you to move up, you have to make yourself stand out. Frankly I'm wondering if I have the energy and the chutzpah to be this ambitious all the time! LOL If I could attach a file, I'd let you read the draft that currently stands. Maybe tomorrow after I've had time to think more about and make some revisions, I'll post them here.

It's just awesome being in a place where you don't have to think about other stuff....for now, it's just poetry. That's your life for ten days. I get so much done while I'm here....sometimes at home I struggle for inspiration, but never here. I need to find a way to bottle this and bring it with me wherever I go!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

101 Reasons Why Driving is Better Than Flying

So, I'm in Boston right now. Yes, Boston. My NEC residency starts today (it's about an hour and a half away, I plan to leave in about an hour to hit registration on time) so I came out a few days early to spend time with Stef in Boston. I have never been here before and I must say it's interesting and different than I expected. First--I get the impression that what I would normally consider a "rough" neighborhood is not rough at all here. Hence, second, people walk and take public transportation all the time. When Stef explained that she has about an hour's commute, give or take, to work and school, and that she has to walk to the bus stop, wait for the bus, take the bus to the train station, and then take the train into town and walk the rest of the way to her destination, I was floored. But of course, after having driven through Boston to get to her house, I can see why no one in their right mind would want to deal with having a car here.

So the reason I drove out here instead of flying is that airline prices are unfathomable right now. Really, it was close to $500 for a round trip ticket out here. Out of Detroit. If I wanted to fly out of Kalamazoo, it would have been even more. So I said to hell with it, and set out on my own little driving adventure. My mother bought me a Maglight to take with me in case of emergency (car trouble or if I'm being harassed) and also pointed out that it's red to match my car. So if I have to bash someone over the head with it, at least I can know I'm doing so in a very aesthetic and fashionable way.

And you know what? Driving is the only way to go. I don't know how I'd feel about doing it in the winter, but at least this time of year, it's awesome. I made the trip from Detroit to Boston in about 11-12 hours, with two or three rest stops/gas fill-ups. It was great to be in control of every aspect of my trip...the whens and wheres...excellent.

We went shopping in the Haymarket on Tuesday, which was great. There's a Holocaust memorial there that we passed I always have a bittersweet feeling about seems like they only garner a little bit of interest when they're new, and after that they're almost completely ignored....thus defeating the purpose of having a memorial. This one absolutely commands your attention. We saw it during the day, obviously, but Stef tells me that at night it's lit up and these puffs of steam are pumped out of grates in the ground as you walk through....even during the day as you walk through it you feel the heat of the steam and it's like you're in one of those gas chambers in a death camp. How much more gut wrenching can they get?

So soon I will be on my way up to Henniker for another 10 days of intense poetry madness. I've got to finish putting my stuff away and loading up the car. Thankfully this time I have brought an air mattress so I don't have to sleep on those stone slabs....I mean beds.