Thanks to everyone who gave me their thoughts on my workshop choices. It was hard to go with my gut instinct because my gut instinct tells me there are at least six workshops next summer that I would get a whole heck of a lot out of! I decided to narrow it down to Carl Phillips vs. D.A. Powell (though as I noted before there are a bunch of very promising-sounding options). I phoned FAWC this morning and Dorothy, the summer program administrator, read me the complete workshop descriptions -- and in the end that's what decided me. Phillips' description sounds very similar to what Powell did last year: revision, and using the revision process to generate new material as well. Which is good stuff, and Dorothy said students always rave about Phillips, so it could be a very, very good workshop. But Powell's workshop on "Writing the Body" feels a bit risky to me, feels like it might make me write some things I'm afraid to write, feels just a bit scary. So that's the one I signed up for. I will need to let go of my expectations, because I will not have the same experience I had last summer. But I know I will be challenged, I will spend a week fully alive with the smell of the ocean filling my lungs, I will learn a hell of a lot.
I may blog later about why a workshop on "Writing the Body" feels risky and scary to me. It's a risk I need to take, because I have a tendency to live inside my head a lot and consequently to write very "think-y" poems. Provincetown, where I am so aware of the salt smell and the way the fog feels against my skin and the sounds of the harbor and the scratch of sand inside my shoes, where the light falls in a way it falls nowhere else, is the perfect place for me to work on this.
I could tell I made the right decision because as soon as I told Dorothy to sign me up for Powell's workshop I felt like bouncing in my chair a little bit. It was nice to chat with her for a minute, too -- she remembered me, and told me again how much she liked the poem I read last summer at the student reading (yes, they do know how to butter up the paying customers *grin*) and she told me to look for my picture in the printed catalog I'll be receiving soon. (Meep!) --And thanks to Carol for pointing out that my picture is on page 14 of the "FAWC News 2006" newsletter! I was sitting in that lovely Adirondack chair in the FAWC courtyard on Friday morning, writing in my journal, wearing a Hawaiian shirt I got in Kihei, Maui and someone stood on the balcony outside the classroom my workshop met in and snapped an aerial view. "Still Life with Poetry Nerd in Courtyard." (Carol, check out page 7, too -- the cookout picture -- did you spot Michael? Sonia Sanchez is there too, and I keep squinting to see if I can make out anyone else...)
I can't possibly afford this. It's foolish for me to be doing this. Stuff like this is why I have no retirement savings and am going to have to seriously consider stepping in front of a Mack truck when I hit seventy or so. But ... it feels absolutely, completely right to be planning this return trip. It's a palpable, physical pull.
Meet me there.