2017-12-29 MFA Residency Day 2 – First Impressions

Yesterday went like this…

Get up, treadmill, shower, eat, orientation, workshop, eat, lecture, lecture, lecture, eat, faculty reading, next day prep, go to bed.

It was a lot to soak in. I enjoyed the lecture on short story writing and one proven formula to utilize for success, but my favorite was the one about poetry. It was about the use of flowers in poetry. Moreover, about dispelling the notion you shouldn’t consider anything off limits. Flowers being overeused, or cliche as the prime example. I totally dug that because I agree. I wouldn’t say it’s a grand theme in my poems, but I make mention of flowers in some of my Work.

I also have quite a bit of content that rhymes. That’s just how it seems to work out. He mentioned this a couple of times and the fact that in more recent times, most poets have been urged away from rhyme. Believe me, I’ve noticed. Of the poems submitted for workshop, 80% of mine rhyme and 0% of the other students do.

It was a contributing factor to my feeling inadequate among my peers and somehow not quite worthy of being here. That lecture, besides inspiring me to write a poem about the flowers in my garden, made me feel better about my work.

That fact alone has caused sway in my decision about my mentor. I’ve got a few short days to absorb as much as I can to formulate an opinion on who to put down as my preference for a faculty mentor.

There are eight faculty members and by the morning of December 31, we have to turn in sheets with our priority including comments.

I, of course, approach this methodically with a healthy dose of first impresssion. I have one page of notes for each mentor including where they are from, my initial interaction with them, and something of their teaching style.

Their teaching philosophies can be found on the website of course, so that’s homework I can do on my own time. The rest is fact finding through interactions in workshops, lectures, and at the lodge buffet.

I could do a whole post about the dining room dynamic alone. Besides feeling full of anxiety about going into that room and pacing my room for 10 or 15 minutes each time I go to give myself that pep-talk, it’s great. Ha! I’ll save more about that for later.

So the lecture about flowers left me with a positive impression and I’m sure that will be a factor in my selected priority order. Not that it will make much difference. We’ve also been told that the pairing has less to do with this whole selection process and is really more about what our goals are and which person they think might help us get there more. We could have our top 3, and they could decide that none of those people really fit in the master plan for this term.

Still, I think teaching style is important. I also think that the frequency of communication is important. I’m a busy person and too much will be .. too much. Too little, of course, will not be good either because I crave the feedback. It’s sort of a Goldilocks thing.

The day today looks very similar to yesterday and my brain is swimming in things it thinks are important… what to wear, how the faculty interviews will go, what I might read for the “student reading”, and of course what might happen the next time I walk into the dining room. Gah!!!

I’m coming up to an hour on the treadmill and need to get going soon.

Magically Delicious,
~Miss SugarCookie

(This poem was inspired by the lecture yesterday).

My Garden


That I can simply exist
in the quiet company of my children,
Many of whom I’ve selected and rescued
For no other purpose but to
Prolong their life and save them from
The dreaded bin,
Is comforting.

With proper care and feeding
Miraculously they come alive.
They thrive.
They multiply and bloom.
Bringing beauty where once was not.
They silently give back to me
What I have given to them, Tenfold.

In their presence
I too am saved
And can realize my purpose.
Which is just to be alive and thrive.
And bloom.
We have an unspoken understanding
My children and I.

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