2020-01-01 MFA Res Day 4 – Sisters of the Star Blossoms

This is the day I’ve been waiting for All My Life

All My Life, Life

My All, I give you my all, all my alll

And everything I have acquired. All

That has been imprinted upon me by this

Cruel and magnificent life. My

Brilliant insignificance and you, your

Unanswerable questions and unknowable elusive answers and endless abstractions. Yes, I noticed it. Thank you. For your gift of the tools and desire to unwrap them. A thirst for Christmas morning. So giddy with anticipation and wonder. Laying awake wondering if it’s time yet. The silhouetted shadow cracking light into the door saying it’s time. Pulse quickening, eyes jumping out of bed and rushing still in a nightgown. Unprepared and as prepared as I have ever been as I was born with all of the essence I had before I met you. Down the stairs, rushing hand on the wooden banister, skipping every other step and picking up speed, Seeing the lights of the tree, twinkling in the dark morning. A bounty spread under the branches, spilling out on the living room floor. Pausing to bask in the wonder for an impossible moment and rushing in. Reckless abandon, fingers sliding under the seam and tearing, ripping, turning over. more tearing revealing. Wild joy as I hold my treasure up, beaming, for the camera to capture the moment. The gift and i In our inaugural moment. Together at last, never to be separated again.

So many gifts to open. This

is what I have been waiting for.

All my life.

***

Yesterday was the last day of 2019, the last day of December, the last day of the decade. The end of the SugarCookie that was and the beginning of the SugarCookie that will be.

We sipped and talked in the lobby of the lodge. We wandered into the library lounge and congregated at the bar and then out again. We settled into overstuffed couches and chairs and put our energy into oracle cards, Kuantans Yin, each choosing one and reading in the book what it meant for us right now, on the precipice of a new day, month, year, and decade. I received Sisters of the Star Blossoms which was impossibly appropriate for my situation right now in life, down to the details only the universe knows.

We wrote wishes for 2020 on paper and then ventured out into the cold Nebraska night to stand in a circle and burn them, sending our wish to the universe. Ritualistically Placing our trust and faith in a higher energy. I believe that if I believe it, the magic will happen.

(Just watch the polar express and try to prove me wrong).

We milled about a little longer, then hugged and exchanged well wishes and wandered down the hallways, some going up and down stairs leading to our separate rooms to sleep and wake up new and changed.

That was four hours ago. I’m not necessarily refreshed of course as four hours is just a long nap but I’m jazzed and ready to roll. Today is my workshop and that’s exciting cuz I love it and also nice as I don’t have to prepare, just show up and listen.

I have two back to back lectures starting at 9am first. Before that I have to get dressed for the day and eat something. Before that I have to finish this walk.

In order to do that I have to finish my current thought. I have so many swirling it’s hard to cut it but I need to do that. I’d probably stay here in the basement for another hour if I had the time. I don’t have that luxury though so I’m going to have to just end it.

With gratitude and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-31 MFA Res Day 3 – Holding Ones Breath

First of all, I slept like doggy dodo last night and I would say I’ve only got myself to blame (staying up past midnight, not paying attention during the day to things piling up needing to be done, Etc.) but there are other factors outside of my control. Dare I say a longer list not worthy of writing out.

I can’t provide legit stats on it as my Fitbit won’t sync in the basement. Perhaps later when I’m in range of WiFi I’ll check, but that’s a lofty hope at this point (because there’s a myriad of things building in my brain and I’ll never remember.

Second of all, when I was not sleeping, half sleeping, being awake wondering if I had slept but not wanting to check and expose my eyes to a waking sort of light, I had a song in my head. If you’re following along you know yesterday it was Star-fighter Pilot by Snow Patrol. This time it was Manic Monday by the Bangles. Ironic because all day yesterday it was Monday and I couldn’t wrap my brain around that fact because I’m in a portal somewhere between here and there and the days of the weeks don’t have names. I didn’t have a weekend and the concept of weekdays is like “wut?”.

I contemplated that the song came to me sometime during my morning walk and that I was so engrossed in what I was writing that I didn’t notice it. It’s plausible. So today I’m pausing with each new song (counter to the idea of stream of consciousness) to record the song and the artist.

Thirdly, I have forgotten what I really wanted to write about today which is what happens when you add the first point to the second one above. So I have to settle for whatever thought happens next. It probably has something to do with what actually happened yesterday which was my 3rd full day in Nebraska City. So much remarkable and at the same wholly unremarkable. Like five lectures and workshop and readings and lunch and dinner and some great conversations.

Two highlights would be the lecture by my friend Michelle who is graduating which was really interesting and opens the door to lots more consideration I would like to give to her topic, the shadow self. One thing suggested was something called writing “morning pages” which sounds a lot like my relationship with this blog. 40 minutes was not enough time for the topic. I would love to read more about it and the good news is that I can do that if I want to AND as a bonus plan she’s moving to omaha so there will be opportunities to chat about it again. 💃💃💃

After that it was the big reveal of the mentor pairings and I’ve learned from past experience that submitting comments explaining your preferences is beneficial. Last semester I was extremely spoiled and was the only student who had my mentor and it was an amazing experience. Good rapport and lots of communication. More than I’ve had before by a wide margin. Also we were geographically close so we could meet in person. Again, bonus plan.

This semester I wavered and was unsure what would be the best thing for me. I put all the things I was sure about in my comments and left it to the powers to be do the thing they do the best which is sort it all out and make the best choice (lots of factors in and out of control mind you). There are thresholds, other students’ preferences, the evaluation of where a person is at and what they need that, quite frankly, they might not know they need. Also what might not be a good match based on sheer personality I suppose. That could have played in to this one big time and in hind site I would not disagree.

It took me a little while after the reveal to wrap my brain around the shift in the vision I had for the way the rest of this Residency would go and also the semester as a whole. Just a little while though. I think the not sleeping over night and thinking was enough time and I’m now there. I guess what I am trying to say (clearly lacking a measure of eloquence that I would like to have) is that I feel like I have arrived.

Just now, I look up and see that title I selected and that reminds me of what my original topic was. Ahhh, the saving grace of titles when serious distraction is involved. Sometimes all I get is a title but hopefully, it leads to something else more substantial.

Yesterday I did yoga with a group of folks and was reminded that sometimes we are holding a pose and forget to breathe. There are times that I feel that way about this whole residency thing. That I am at times holding my breath and forgetting to exhale. The nice thing about getting yoga instruction is that the person facilitating does remind people to soften, relax, breathe and so when you forget, you get that reminder. Nobody in this 10 day stretch does that. I have to be responsible for my own exhale and also for giving myself a break. I try to remember. I’m always trying to do better.

Seeee .. now I have wandered around too much. Too much meandering and that last bit wasn’t really how I wanted to say that either because I’ve flat run out of time. Perhaps the point is that I need to take a break. I’m going to do that. I’m going to take a break and inhale and exhale several times.

Peace and Love and Cheers to the End of a Decade!

XOXO,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS Set List for this Session:

Signature Move by Pink

Working Man by Imagine Dragons

The One I Love by REM

Easy to Crash by Cake

Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol

Off He Goes by Pearl Jam

Race Car Ya-Yas by Cake

Building a Religion by Cake

My Religion by Skillet (skipped)

Digital Love by Daft Punk

City Love by John Mayer

Stacked Actors by foo fighters

Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows

Ode to Sleep by Twenty One Pilots (skipped)

Sleeping to Dream by Jason Mraz

Here is no why by smashing pumpkins (skipped)

Things Happen by Dawes

Things we lost in the fire by Bastille

2019-12-30 MFA Res Day 2 – On Music and Magic and Math

The song “Straighter Pilot” by Snow Patrol was in my head when I woke up. It’s not one of their more popular songs. It’s kinda quirky and kinda nerdy and truly atypical compared to the rest of their body of work.

It’s a good reminder of what you can do with the freedom that comes with success. Maybe success is not the right word. Maybe it’s experience. You do a thing long enough, you are bound to gain acclaim, or at least a reputation. That history, that putting in the time, is like building credit up in the bank of life. You earn the right to flip a script or two. Perhaps it’s less about earning the right as it is acquiring a sense of not giving a fuck. “I’ve done all that you asked of me, and now I’m going to do what I damn well please.”

I’m as sure about that phenomenon with my own life as I am that it probably has nothing to do with the composition and execution of Starfighter Pilot. Things are often not what they appear and you don’t ever really know. No person can be in the head of any other person (thank the universe).

That last bit was part of the intro to a lecture I went to yesterday which turned out to be a discussion about the difference between speculative thinking and writing and magical thinking and writing. It was a fascinating lecture and it concluded with the person giving the lecture using his own story as an example. It left me teary. Not a surprise.

I became teary a couple times yesterday. No full-on crying, but it’s there, somewhere inside building it’s gumption and energy. A sticky ball rolling and picking up artifacts as it goes. It started as a little walnut and now it’s got tinfoil and bits of umbrella stuck to it and it’s about the size of a tennis ball. It’s lodged somewhere deep in my body cavity at the moment. No where near my heart or my throat. Its nestled next to my spleen, teetering back and forth with indecision and mounting momentum. It’s preparing to begin rolling again. A thing that’s as inevitable as the sun rising.

I will say, it’s nice here, with the sun still sleeping and this reliable treadmill. I guess that’s what I mean about balance. There has to be sleep and a return to center to counter what happens with the unpredictability of every day.

I suppose one theory about why people I’m centuries past didn’t live as long as they do I’m today’s day and age. When there’s so much volatility around just acquiring basic needs.. sleep, food, shelter, the body and mind have no time to reset and that ages a person pretty rapidly. Modern medicine plays in of course, but I think balance it the bigger factor by a wide margin.

There’s acute occurrences that can now be overcome, but life is long. The chronic condition of being human is what we have to live with from the day we are born.

Right now the shuffle (which I’ve invited the Universe to dictate for my time here) is feeding Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”. Now there’s an artist with so much experience and talent that she’s able to re-invent herself again and again AND find success. An extraordinary example of an artist that has it figured out.

It feels as though there must be some equation that translates the speculative into the magical. What, oh what, are the variables and constants? What are the multipliers and factors that subtract? Does one approach it with the FOIL method or as a proof? Is it largely geometric or does algebra take over? Can it be elementary or does one need to grasp quantum physics to crack the code and unravel the mystery?

Perhaps the secret is in the letting go of expectations. That sounds like a task of which I’m completely capable of doing. Im going to roll with that.

Speaking of rolling, the sun is about to come up and that ball inside me is gearing up for the day. My hour is up anyway.

Balance + Experience + Being Open = Magic and Longevity

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-29 MFA Res Day 1 – Unpredictable

It’s not quite 6am and I’m on the treadmill. I went to bed at a decent time but my Fitbit is still reporting less than 6 hours with poor quality for sleep. I dunno.. I think that’s unavoidable. Still I feel pretty good and ready to get after this day.

Yesterday, which I thought was super action packed was actually kind of slow moving. The morning crawled along and we had orientation and our first workshop and that was great. A long break later and there were a couple of lectures and that was fine too. I actually had enough break in-between things to return to my room and think about life and make sure I was prepared for the next thing. I even printed some material that I need to read for a session like 5 days away.

I was thinking that there’s something very different this time. Perhaps it’s just me. My anxiety is still hovering around minimum and I’ve always before been a bit cray-cray and I’m just not (yet). I always freak out packing and load my bag with books to have something to do, worried I’ll “need” that and I never have. I’ve always been irritated with the neurosis that caused me to lug my books with me. “A waste of space and weight”, I’ve furrowed.

This time? I didn’t bring any books. I thought “I’m fixing mistakes I’ve made before.. ha!”.

The Universe just smirks “wrong”.

Yesterday I wished several times I had a book to read. A good story to get lost in for an hour and so instead I just sat and tried to think of what I could possibly do to be more prepared for something else. And of course a fair bit of thinking about not having any books. “Fine, Universe, you win.”

That being said, the schedule for today looks to be more action packed and this time I think it’s for real. There’s about 8 things I want to go to on the schedule and that does not include meals. I’m definitely ready and very much looking forward to all of it. Except of course the meals. I still hate the dining room.

I don’t think that’s ever going to change. “You hear me Universe?! It’s NEVER going to change. Let’s see you flip that script! Ha!!”

What else? Oh! I wrote like 3 new poems so far and one of them might even have the potential to be pretty good. I would declare that I’m going to try to write at least one a day but I don’t want to set the bar too high. That way lies madness. But, a girl can dream right?

Though I may end up sleep deprived, I think it’s totally worth it to have this hour of the day alone. It’s so strange for it to be so quiet and calm now when in just a hot little bit this place will be teeming with activity. The Chateau is packed this go round, complete with faculty, staff, students, families gathering for the holiday, and people getting ready to kick off the New Year. There’s no escaping the crowd. I need to enjoy all the quiet contemplation I can.

With that, my hour is up and I’m in desperate need of a shower.

Hittn’ It and Gittn’ It,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-28 MFA Res Day .998 – Serious Shrug

(They can’t all be winners.)

I did a little catching up with some of my peeps last night but was hampered somewhat by a slight headache and a lack of desire. Desire for what I’m not sure. A few folks were talking about being nervous and or excited but it’s their second term. This is my 4th and some of the nerves have faded but it’s been traded for a bit of a shrug.

It was cold when I went to my room and I resisted going to the car to get my supply of Tylenol for my headache. I had a very brief phone conversation with Jim and then crashed out with a pile of like 8 pillows on my bed.

My sleep was poor and brief and I woke with a worse headache. The first thing I did was check the temp outside. 37. I could not put off going to my car. It’s dark and rainy and cold but the fresh air felt good on my skin and in my lungs. And now I’ve had Tylenol and my daily dose of circumin, biotin, and Claritin. Oh.. and the cold water that was in my car.

It’s 6am and there’s a long day ahead for this SugarCookie. Breakfast, orientation, workshop, 2 or three lectures, lunch, a round of mentor introductions, a graduating student reading (yay Michelle!! 💃), dinner, faculty readings. I’m exhausted typing that list and considering I’ve only had 5 hours of sleep it’s going to be a long day.

By this time I’ve realized the short list of things I’ve forgotten to bring. There’s always something. Some things I can get at the Walgreens but at least 1 can only be found at my home.. my migraine meds. Having a headache reminded me of that and thankfully this headache is not a migraine. I just have to hope that doesn’t happen or be prepared to make some sacrifices over time if one develops.

This has got to be the most boring blog post ever. I’ve only been on the treadmill for 20 minutes and I’m so bored with myself. I kind of want to go back outside. I kind of just want to walk in the rain. I kind of want to get in my car and drive home and climb back into my own bed. I’m hoping this strange subdued mood leaves my body and mind soon.

That’s it for today I think. 30 minutes and I’m done. Perhaps I’ll have more interesting details to report after my first full day here.

Peace,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS List of Forgotten items:

1.imatrex.

2.neutrogina facial cleansing wipes.

3.a book to read (I always bring books and never read them due to lack of time and now I’m wishing I had my current read and/or a few of my unread poetry books).

Not bad.

2019-12-27 MFA Res Day 0.5 – Midnight in December

6PM on December 27th in Nowheresville Nebraska and it might as well be midnight. Last time I was here I had to request a new room after 3 days because of a wasp problem and this time? It might be a neighbor problem. Time will tell. I’m not next to my friends anyway so they can put me wherever. Put me back home or wherever. Or whenever.

I looked at the first two or three days of the schedule and tried to consume it. Tried to put some ginger snaps in my mouth before and after to make it taste better but it doesn’t. My hearts not in it and all of a sudden this feels like a big mistake. I’m going to write a thesis? A What?! Are you looking at me when you say those words. I don’t even the hell know what a thesis is. I don’t know if I can learn the definition in time. Too many other things to do, you know, and never enough time.

It’s so dark and I’m already missing home. The cats and the kids and Jim. Not the dishes or the laundry though. Nine days not doing laundry is truly the definition of a saving grace.

There’s dinner tonight and as dark as it is now it will feel like a late night snack. All 62 of us sneaking down to the pantry to pull a plate of some baked chicken and sauce de jour. Please, oh please, let it be marinara tonight. With some motz cheese and maybe a noodle or two to twist onto my fork. Who doesn’t love a midnight snack?

The schedule for tomorrow has six events I want to go to and the day after that is 7 and already I’m exhausted because I haven’t slept for three days. I’m exhausted from not sleeping for the next 3 or 5 or 8 days and I don’t believe I have enough Xanax to get me through.

Oh my but how it is cold at midnight in Nebraska. I suspect the temp in this room is a fickle as my grandmother said it was her prerogative to be. Just scooch a degree up and watch her say “you want it hot?! Fine.. I’ll show you hot”. Every room a different shade of grandmother in this chateau. “Lodge” is such a rustic word. Such a hard square word that sort of chokes you when you try to say or unsay it.

I’m afraid it’s too late to unsay this little adventure. And this post. And what’s about to happen now. Soon it will be 1AM and for the love of all the trees in the world, please let me be sleeping by then.

XOXO,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-27 MFA Res Day 0

Why day 0? Cuz I’m a numbers nerd and all good counters start at 0.

Today is my last minute mad scramble to get my act together and haul myself and half my world to Nebraska City for the start of my 4th official Residency for my MFA.💃💃💃 Festivities kick off this afternoon and I’m hoping to be there by 3pm but we’ll see. My checklist needs a lot of work.

I’d love to get to Jazzercise this morning but that’s not looking likely at this point. If I was packed perhaps. If I’d have done laundry yesterday perhaps. If the kids weren’t here perhaps but even my 4:45am wake-up wasn’t enough to Make a good dent. Why oh why is it so tough to commit to 10 days of clothing? And why do I decide to sit in my closet painting my toenails instead? And can somebody please tell me why I feel the need to pack a supply of food and snacks when 1. All the meals are provided and 2. There’s a market 5 minutes from the Lied Lodge? My stupid brain.

And if history repeats itself (which it ALWAYS does) I’ll be making a trip to Walmart while I’m there anyway. /shrug

I’m super excited to see some of the people I’ve gotten to know better during the course of this program and am hoping that I can have a good balance of activities so I can keep my sanity. Since it’s winter there will be no escaping for walking outside.

One of my goals this time around is to do all my notes same day so that submitting the assignments can be done and posted before I leave. I also need to try and keep my focus on the tasks at hand and not let my anxiety get the best of me. Spending 10 days in this environment has historically caused this introverted SugarCookie to go a little bit off the rails. And of course I’m expecting Bob to be there so I’ll have to share the one treadmill in the gym there. 😜

Anyway, that’s probably it for today. Lots to do and the clock is ticking. ⏰

Next Stop.. Nebraska City,

~Miss SugarCookie