Well, it's been a pretty hellacious, wonderful, horrific, terrible ride for the past ten days. I learned some things -- things I wanted to know, things I didn't. I learned that the two greatest inventions of mankind (after the wheel and the Dewey decimal system, that is) are espresso and under-eye concealer. I learned something really kind of not nice about the man I was interested in -- turns out he's absolutely not who I thought he was in terms of his ethics and honesty.
I learned that the short story I submitted to workshop these past ten days -- which I proclaimed from the highest mountaintops that I was sick to death of and never wanted to see again after this residency -- may actually not be a short story after all, but, in fact, may be the beginnings of a novel. I kept trying to make it shorter and more compressed, when according to everyone who read it, the story is really screaming to be expanded and told at length and in detail. Who knew? (Obviously, not me!)
I learned a lot from the many lectures and seminars attended -- such as how to publish an anthology, how to begin to approach the teaching of creative writing, how to use humor and limited writing exercises to inspire young writers to write. I think my field study is going to be a reading/writing group of my daughter's friends, who have expressed an interest in learning to write. Many of them are also artists, so I think what I may do is set about creating a book that they write, illustrate, edit and publish with their own works of writing and art.
I learned that talking on the cellphone while searching for a ladies' room can be a bit risky, as it can cause you to enter the men's room instead. (Fortunately, there's an outer area with sinks only!)
I learned that for every six months, for the next two years, I get to go to a place where I completely and totally belong -- where I can talk in my weird "writer's shorthand," and everyone will know what I'm talking about. And, finally, if there was every even a momentary doubt in my mind, I learned that I am a writer, and this is what I was born to do.
So, starting in January, I begin what's known as the "Project Period" -- where every month, on the 21st, I turn in a packet of material including the pages I've written (I've set 20 per month as my goal, since I lean on the prolific side), annotations of the books I've read, plus I meet online with my mentor and her other mentees to discuss the assigned readings (to see my reading list, click here.) All very inspiring and exciting.
Wish me luck. I'm off tomorrow to buy LOTS of espresso and under-eye concealer.