2018-07-14 MFA Day 1 – Lectures and Workshops and Readings, Oh My!

I’ve only been on this yellow brick road for about a day now and have already encountered a lot of strange and wonderful things. No lions or tin-can men to accompany me on my journey (yet), but certainly some glenda-the-good-witchness to cast a light on the path and show me the way.

I wanted to try and minimize all the things that I don’t like, and maximize all the things I do like about this process, which is easy to do when you’ve made a list (that was my post on July 10 if you must know). I didn’t really have to reference my list though, because I know what my number one area of dissatisfaction is about Residency… the dreaded dining room situation.

Since I am the master of my own domain and in complete control of my own actions, I made the command decision to skip the buffet breakfast. Instead, I “made” hot water in my hotel room using the crappy little single serve coffee maker and prepared some instant oatmeal. Best decision ever!

Not only did I have time to go for a little walk around the grounds, exploring a little north of the lodge on a trail through the woods, but then I also had time to do some writing and also managed to check in on work. OK, so the avoiding the awkward social situation was a total bonus. I may comment about this a lot, but the fact of life is that it doesn’t really go away. I’m hoping that the more comfortable I get with these people, the more those feelings will fade away.

That occurrence has certainly been true for most situations in my life, so this one will be no different. The reality is that by the time I’m in the clear, it will be time to leave. It stands to reason, then, that I should probably get into as much interaction as I can, while I can, so that it does fade sooner rather than later.

(Yeah, this is me having an internal argument with myself about how to approach this situation). I could continue to just ask myself why it has to be a situation in the first place, but “that way lies madness.”

In any case, I felt much better going into morning workshops feeling great about the day. We had a brief orientation first, where I was in with the “newbies” (first semester students, of which there are about 12) and dutifully played the part of the wise second semester person, who has all the answers. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in that “newbie” seat and figuratively terrified of what lie ahead. Truly that Residency was overwhelming and if there is any way I could help answer questions from the fresh crowd, I wanted to. And I did.

Workshop was good too. It was a familiar set of fellow poets from different terms (there are a smaller number of poets so we are always with the same people). I didn’t have a ton of feedback to contribute, but I had enough and felt satisfied by the discussion. Today we went over the poems submitted by a graduating student and they were all very good. We won’t be going over the poems I submitted until one of the last days of residency, so I’m just not going to think about that yet (or try not to).

After that was a poetry lecture by one of the mentors, and as always, that was fantastic. I think I like the lectures the most because they always inspire me about something else I want to dig into or read or write about. This time was no exception. Another lesson learned from last time was that I never seemed to have enough time to think about something and process it fully before being bombarded by the next “event”. So the other command decision I made today was to skip some events. Not all of them are mandatory and if I pick and choose wisely, I will have a more balanced day and probably also not feel so overwhelmed. (Hopefully)

Lunch was lunch (meh), and I did my best with that. I just finished another lecture this afternoon and am now sitting out on the back patio of the Lodge overlooking the woods. It’s hot, but a welcome heat to the freezing 65 degrees in the rest of this building. Thank goodness I have control over my own room. Dinners here are early compared to what I’m normally used to and I actually still feel kind of full from lunch, so going to try and hold off a little longer before going in.

Perhaps I should trade this patio chair for one in the comfort of my own space inside and partake of a glass of wine while I wait? I am the Dorothy of this story after all, so the road ahead can go wherever I want. (Hold the flying monkeys please!).

And I’ll take my dog with me, too,
~Miss SugarCookie


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