2017-12-31 MFA Residency Day 3 – Space and Time Matter

I broke away from the pack about 2:30 and took my leave of this building with a dual purpose in mind. I wanted to relieve myself of the claustrophobia of being hold-up in a somewhat confined space surrounded by freezing temperatures outside and I also needed to get tights or leggings for my outfit tomorrow. I’m not a snob so Wal-Mart works just fine for finding what I was looking for and just the act of getting in my car and driving there was enough to fix the uncomfortable feeling I was starting to have about being here.

After that I wanted to take advantage of the additional free time to try to write, but there was a lot of bargaining going on in my head (much like Kate talked about this morning), and a fair bit of distraction.. everywhere I went.

It’s a lodge, so there’s lots of cool places to sit. Comfy chairs by fires and windows and nooks and kranneys. But it’s like zero degrees out and so all the chairs by windows are cold. The chairs near the fire are out because as soon as I sat down, the smoke smell started to cause a headache. As for nooks, well, there were some, but not a lot that were free from the distractions of people coming and going so the best nook I could find was my own room. That is where I landed.


Two hours later and I’ve been out among the peeps and now I’m back in my room again. There was a graduating student that read a story that was really great followed by another meal in the dining room. I think that a person should be allowed to get food and take it back to their room. It’s all buffet so far which is ok, but doesn’t work great if you’re alone. It seems a little awkward no matter what happens.

1. If you try to eat alone, people want you to join them. Very nice of them. I’m grateful, though it makes me acutely aware of my inadaquicies in making small talk.

2. If you walk into the dining room and nobody you know is there (and let’s face it, it’s day 3 and you don’t really know anybody yet), you either have to force yourself to sit with strangers, or sit alone and we’re back to #1.

3. Depending on the timing, you could see someone you have talked with before, but they could be almost done eating, and you don’t want to prolong their time if they were getting ready to leave. So you either make it awkward for them or you revert back to #2, which probably leads back to #1.

I figure it will take all 9 days to get to know folks well enough to have it not feel weird anymore, and then it will be time for everyone to go home. I’m sure next semester will be different. I hope it will anyway.

There’s a faculty reading at 8PM, and after that, I’m going to have to do just a little prep for tomorrow. I would also like to get more steps in. I know my average will go down after this week, but I have to grant myself a pass for that. This schedule is pretty packed.

I should probably also try to call the kids. Nobody will text me back.. frustrating.


I had the worst night of sleep yet. I elected to stay awake until almost midnight, by my own choice, and then woke up about 4. It may have been 3:30. I’m not sure because I had taken my Fitbit off.

I woke up because of a dream. I was participating in some sort of hunger games scenario only the bullets being used were like nerf bullets. Effective enough to sting, but not so bad as to leave a string of fatalities behind for facilitators to deal with.

If you haven’t participated in Nerf gun wars recently, you may not be aware how severe it is. If you get shot with a Mega, it’s really painful. It leaves welts like a paintball would. At close range, a shot gone wrong could take a persons eye out. The size and accuracy of the guns has also gotten out of hand. Not to mention that they make battery operated semi-automatics. It’s just one tiny slice of the the big pie we eat everyday living in this country. It gets more and more rotten by the minute.

I hit my target through the bushes on a distance shot and I could see him drop to the ground before I woke up. That image only lingered for a short time before the reality of time and space and circumstance caught up to me.

I laid there trying to force myself back to sleep, which rarely works, and was quite relieved when the clock hit 5:30, so I could get up without feeling bad about it. By 5:45 I was dressed for walking the treadmill and headed to the exercise room.

It’s my third morning here and if I time this morning right, I’ll hit breakfast at 7 am before most people and be done and gone by the main crowd. It’s not like I want to avoid people, it’s that I just want to eat alone sometimes. People exhaust me.

I’m happy to report that the longer I’m here, the better I feel about it. I still have flashes of moments where I know I’m an imposter posing as a poet to get insider info that will aid my plot to take over the world. Then I blink myself back to the task at hand and remind myself that I deserve to be here as much as the person sitting beside me.

I’ve made a few really great connections with mentors and today is the day we turn in our preference sheets with comments. I still need to finish my notes and print that out, but I’m feeling solid about it. As a first year, I wonder if it will even matter.

Actually, it probably will. There are only five poets in the program and eight poet mentors. Chances are better for getting someone from the top of the list. In all honesty, I think they are all great and though the experience will likely be very different from person to person, I doubt they’ll be a negative outcome.

I’m not sure I’m ready for this day, but it’s rolling now and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Breathe deep and exhale,

~Miss SugarCookie

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