Today I got my early-registration information from FAWC for their summer workshops. (Yeah!!) (They always send out bare-bones info to people on their mailing list before they put the schedule & registration up on their website, so we get first dibs.) I'd been more or less thinking I would apply for the Indiana Arts Commission grant to cover the costs of attending a workshop. But ... of COURSE ... the two I'm most interested in doing are in June, and the grant period begins July 1, so I can't apply for the grant for those workshops.
I could do a workshop later in the summer (although I'd still have to register, reserve housing, probably even buy a plane ticket, all before I knew for sure whether I'd gotten the grant or not). But ... I stopped for a minute and really listened to what I've been saying for the past couple of days, which is, "I'll just put the workshop stuff on my credit card and if I don't get the grant, well, I'll figure out some way to pay it off."
So, duh. I should just do that ANYway, if I want the workshop badly enough to do that, and apply for the grant for something ELSE that will work out better. Probably an online mentorship thingie. Which would probably fit the grant specs better anyway, because in the workshop I attended the other day they really emphasized that they want the grant to take you a step farther along in your career, not just keep doing what you're already doing. And I've done workshops already, but I've never done a mentorship thingie. And a mentorship thingie would be a very natural way to work towards a (ssshhhhh, don't tell, you'll jinx it!) book manuscript.
So, even though I can't possibly afford it, I think I'm going to call FAWC tomorrow and make reservations for a workshop. And housing, because staying at FAWC is cheaper than most of the B&B's in town, and their housing books up super super fast so if I don't nab it now I'm probably out of luck. And honestly, I'll have several months before it's too late to cancel and get my deposit back, so even if I change my mind, I'm still better off putting down a deposit now.
BUT ... there are two workshops that appeal to me right off the bat (okay, there are probably half a dozen that interest me, but these two particularly). They're both the same week (the week of June 18th). One is "Revision: Art and Strategy" with Carl Phillips. The other is "Writing the Body" with D.A. Powell. Now, D.A. Powell's workshop last summer was (as anyone who was reading this blog back then knows) a tremendous experience for me; I'd go so far as to say it was one of the best weeks of my life, and that Powell was the best teacher I have ever had. So do I sign up for another week with him? If the week is less than mind-blowing for whatever reason, what a letdown. And last summer was just a perfect confluence of me being in the right space, the right people in the class, the right poems showing up to be written, the right weather, the right teacher -- chances are, nothing's going to live up to that standard. But, he's a damned good teacher and I'm sure it would be a good workshop no matter what. On the other hand, working with somebody new would be good (maybe I've already learned what I have to learn from Powell?), revision would be a very worthwhile thing for me to work on, and I have a gut instinct that Phillips might be a really good teacher for me. And I'd still get to hear Powell read, and hopefully get a chance to hang with him a bit and catch up.
Ugh, decisions, decisions. I could also go later in the summer and do a revision workshop with Martha Rhodes, who I met at IUWC last summer and liked quite a bit. Or I could apply to get into Marie Howe's advanced poetry workshop (and if I didn't get in, Cleopatra Mathis is doing a revision workshop that week, and Mark Wunderlich is teaching that week too, so I could just take one of those instead and not have to change housing/air reservations). Major Jackson is doing a workshop called "Doorways: A Poetry Workshop" which sounds intriguing though I might ask the FAWC folks to read me the full description before I would sign up for it. Marie Ponsot is teaching at the end of August, but that's a bad time to take off work so it's probably out of the question. Oh, and Thomas Sayers Ellis has one called "A Risk in Every Room" and since I am fascinated with the idea of risk in poetry and what it can mean or not mean, that intrigues me.
But I am fond of June in P-town, and I'm inclined right now to go with either Phillips or Powell.
Any thoughts, input, ouija board suggestions would be MOST welcome. (Carol! I'd especially love to hear from you on this.) I think I'm gonna call them tomorrow and make the reservations, but switching from one to the other in the same week is not a problem if the other one isn't full yet, so even if you're late to the party, I'd be glad to hear your opinion. Yes, you.
The fact that I can't possibly afford this, that it is completely irresponsible of me to even think about it, makes it a little more exciting. :P
My poetry group had our holiday meeting tonight. We usually bring more food than for a regular meeting (and more festive food), and we usually exchange small gifts although this year we each made a donation to charity in the name of the group instead, and we usually bring poems by others to share instead of critiquing our own. I read "Octopus in the Freezer" by our own Artichoke Heart. They loved it, although Anya said "boy, that's a mind I wouldn't want to be inside for more than a few minutes." (She meant it in a good way, though!)
The next person to ask me whether I've got my Christmas shopping finished yet gets decked. Cheers!