Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Residency Day 5

We don't have a lot of downtime, here, which is good. We've only got a short amount of time, so I'd rather use it sitting in classes and scribbling notes furiously and soaking up every ounce of learning I can before I head home to do so much of that on my own. Call me weird.

But we do have some off-time. In the afternoons, the graduating class presents their thesis, which everyone is able to sit in on if they want, or they can take that hour off. I usually take it off because it's one of the few times of day to get something done, but on Day 5 I went to listen to two students I'd hung out with on Karaoke night. Hearing them present their critical introduction and read part of their final project was inspiring.

Normally, though, during that time I'm working on homework. Welcome back to school, right? It's not as though there is piles of it yet; most of that will come during the correspondence time back home. But here we are supposed to write critical reviews of each class we attend - kind of proof that we went and can apply the teaching to our own writing. The first one or two that I wrote took a long time, but I'm getting better at them now. I can hammer one out in 15-20 minutes.

My workshop group also has writing exercises, which I've found tremendously fun. Since I didn't come into this residency working on a project, it's been nice to have something to work on anyway. Yesterday's was a non-fiction writing called "glimmers," which I said in the last post I'd write about today, but I'll put it off to later, because I think I could fill a whole post with it. Anyway, today I have to write a scene with 26 sentences... each sentence starting with words that begin with progressive letters of the alphabet. In other words, the first sentence starts with A, the next B, the next C, and so forth. One sentence has to be only one word. One must be over 100. It sounds daunting but it's been really fun to work on so far.

I have a class in two days on Alice Munro's story Runaway, which I am only partway through, so I need to finish reading that, too.

Some people are still working on critiquing the stories for workshop, but I did that before I came, so each night I just read back over the ones on the chopping block for the next story and see if there's anything else I want to add.

If the weather is nice, I like to walk out on the beach, too. Yesterday there was a little boy and his dog playing in the frigid Pacific water and they were so precious. I probably stood watching them for half and hour.

So all this I cram in before classes start in the morning (I'm ready to go by 8:00, so I have about 50 minutes in the morning), during the hour in the afternoon, and after everything winds down at night, which has been anywhere from 9:00 to midnight, depending on the evening activities. Wednesday we have most of the afternoon off, as that's when the faculty all gets together to make the final student/faculty pairings for the semester. They have tours and excursions planned, but I haven't made up my mind what I'll do  yet. I may just hang out with a few friends wandering the beach and hunting for the best cup of clam chowder. Sounds a little like heaven to me. :)


  1. Sounds like a blast! Words, words, words all day - and a beach to walk on when you need to recharge your creative batteries. Soak up a little of that writerly luxury for all the rest of us, okay?

  2. I have to agree with K.M. Words and the beach--can't get much better. I think I'd skip Karaoke though! I'm looking forward to hearing about 'glimmers.' Love the word.

  3. You sounds blissfully busy, which is a good kind of busy. Can't wait to hear more.

  4. I know, right?? The beach AND writing all day!!

    Of course, today it's pouring buckets and you can't even see the ocean, even though it's just a few yards away. Guess I'll have to get back to work! :)