“Today is Thursday,” begins my morning orientation process. Day Seven of my third writing residency. Three days left with my writing friends, five days left of travel. I’ve been away from home a total of ten days.
The next set of orientation notes follows—I’ve never been good at holding schedules in my head, so these notes help me find my way through the days:
Today—read manuscript for workshop.
It’s the “final” day of workshopping my classmates’ manuscripts, and I must read Kevin’s essay at breakfast—which means I must find enough concentration to do his essay justice. Yesterday I plugged in the iPod, took my morning coffee to the deck of the dining hall and faced the hills, to read for an hour prior to classes. I will do the same today. After this prep, I’ll be in classes from 9 a.m. until dinner.
Today—love my dear friends.
My close friends Brian and Jill are onsite for the Glen Workshop, held alongside my MFA residency. They leave early, tomorrow. I’ll see Jill in a few weeks, but I don’t know when I’ll have the next excuse to see Brian. I already “hog” all the time they can spare, and I suppose I’ll be even more over-the-top about pursuing them today.
Toda--, find my three best pages to read aloud.
Tonight, a small writer’s circle convenes. It’s an “invitation only” event, but each guest must bring material to read. Last year this circle sealed my confidence in my writing—this year, I need to figure out how to excerpt pages from my very long essay, and that will take some concentration, too. Can I think it through at lunch?
And after the writer’s circle is a movie with my classmates. And after the movie (or during?) is the bottle of wine on my desk.
Friday-- pack up my stack of books and ship them home, to lessen the load in my suitcase. Friday I read in worship, which means I should look up the passage from the book of Job.
Saturday-- meet with my faculty mentor to sketch out my writing and reading for the coming year, and begin my goodbyes with dear classmates, especially Emily, who graduates at the close of this week.
The next step of my morning orientation involves packing my bag for class, insuring I arrive with my books and papers, the Dante books, the essays I’m reading and excerpting… I’ll want to look at the schedule one more time, to make sure I’m not missing anything. When I look at the schedule, I remember the stack of articles I’ve brought for others, the bags of sea glass for Emily, for Gina.
And the step after that involves washing my water bottle for the day, choosing clothes, washing my face for another day of gorgeous weather, hot and dry and sunny. I will write a note to my son at summer camp, and then I’ll be oriented, ready for coffee, reading, breakfast, class. Ready as I’ll be for goodbyes, for gift-giving, for another day’s goodness.
Tired. Very, very tired and emotionally stretched from days with too little sleep, too many written words, such late nights filled with