Compared to the three previous days waking up today, despite still only having just shy of 4.5 hours of sleep, I’m feeling much closer to my center. Perhaps it’s because I just woke up and am enjoying my routine already but it could also be the fact that we are on the downhill slide of this little adventure and that yesterday there was a great release when the swell that comes from my having my “15 minutes of fame” here was over.
I’m talking about the student readings which appear on the surface to be no big deal to other folks. That’s how things often appear on the surface so I’m not sure if there is any truth in it. It’s a big deal to me to have the eyes of so many brilliant writers – brilliant people – all on me for even a short time like 5 minutes. One has the attention of the room and that brings power. And with great power becomes great responsibility. I felt it.
It’s a responsibility to step up to the plate and kill it, somehow trying, through my words to make a case that I belong here. That I, too, am worthy of this experience. It’s feels self serving to highlight the fact that the journey that led me here is very different than most people I talk to. Maybe I’m just drawn to talk to people with backgrounds and situations that differ from my own because that’s interesting or because I’m searching for the common threads between us.
Through reading their work and hearing them read it that is easy to glean, as the passion bleeds through. It feels like such a great opportunity to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of everyone, many of whom are early in their writing lives and careers. It’s a special thing and I feel as tough the price for admission is contribution. Therein lies the pressure and the swell.
I spent several hours in thought and action for preparation, including most of my morning yesterday. Everyone else was having scheduled meetings with their mentors and finalizing study plans for the semester. My mentor was absent on “other duties as assigned” by the program and university. It’s a privilege to be working with someone who is so intrugal to the program, someone who is so invested in it, and whose work I respect so greatly. It’s worthy of so many more words but I’m going to hold them hostage until another time.
By mid-morning. I was done with final edits, timing everything, and preparing my comments for my reading. I’d love to appear fearless and polished, graceful and unrehearsed, and, as I said, worthy. I want those things to be real and overpower the anxiety and uncertainty that I experience with public speaking.
When it was over and done, I felt pretty good about it. I truly did, which is awesome, and then I had a wave of relief wash over me. The rest of the day I felt so much lighter inside. Other aspects of this time started to take their shapes again and some of my focus has returned.
As always, there’s a great deal more I could say about the rest of the day’s activities. Day spills into night and crosses through dreams and returns with the sunrise. With that, the sun is up and my time is up too.
Enjoying the Exhale,