The train has officially left the station and no time has been wasted getting up to full speed. The short story on what happened yesterday includes 4 lectures, 3 orientation/training sessions, 2 trips to the dining room, and 1 workshop. As an added bonus there was a faculty reading in the evening which is always one of my favorite events to attend.
The longer story includes my decision to switch things up with regard to the dining room to alleviate some anxiety about any awkward situations. In the morning I skipped breakfast and then had a quick bite in my room later in the morning (it’s not my first rodeo and I came prepared). At lunch I waited until lunch was almost over and then snuck in the dining room to eat alone. That felt a little strange but also just comforting somehow, being able to eat at my own pace without having to make small talk. I was planning to do a similar thing for dinner and hit the room super early when most people would still be in a mentor intro session. What I found when I arrived was one of my favorite mentors milling about and we grabbed a 4 top. Two other students joined us and it was a really great conversation! I left feeling like “if it was always like that, the dining room would not be a thing of dread”. Life!
Workshop was a generative session which was something new they added on for just this session for the poets, to balance with the record number of fiction and CNF crew in attendance this go round. The workshop was an open dialogue with the faculty about writing and risk it was superb.
The lectures were all top-notch as is typical and I took gobbs of notes. There’s far too much to consume and internalize but this I already expect and have let go of really trying. If I had a dollar for every author and book and article and poem and short story that are referenced as a “must read”, I would be able to buy a bookstore and committing to read them would mean reserving the rest of my life; doing nothing but reading. Not humanly possible.
At the end of the day, as is my way, I took my leave of all the people and found a quiet spot on the back deck, this time with a nice glass of red wine, to watch the sunset. Sunsets in Nebraska can be amazing and I don’t want to miss any opportunity to witness the plunge of light as the sun is swallowed by a canopy of trees, turning the sky to sherrbert for just an instant before darkness takes another turn at the helm.
Two nights ago I met Patrick on the balcony for the first time and last night he appeared again, as if just on que with the darkness. He sat his glass of wine next to mine on the table and we chatted for a while. I’m not sure how long. It was another great conversation.
Despite it being a nice time, thinking about it when I came inside made me feel homesick for Jim and I called him when I got back to my room. It was a quick chat, about nothing important, which was comforting. I then did some final prep for workshop today and then fell into bed for, what I hoped would be, better than the first night. I don’t care about leaving that to chance and took a Xanax.
According to my Fitbit I got only 4 hours and 46 minutes but for some reason I feel more refreshed today than I did yesterday. I’m thinking that has to be about quality and not quantity and the fact that today promises to be less action packed.
My hour here is almost up and I’m in serious need of a long shower and possibly some eggs from the breakfast buffet. If I’m going to make all that happen before our 8:30 start, I’ve gotta Jam.
Stay Frosty My Friends,