…of the fiscal year, I’m finally going to take my long-delayed grant-funded writing retreat. Essentially, I’m going out in the woods for a week and locking myself in a room with a pile of belligerent, unruly poems, and I’m going to wrestle them to the death or until they turn themselves into a proper book, whichever happens first.
It sounds terrifying but fun. I like “terrifying but fun.” It’s good for me.
Okay, I said “going out in the woods” but in reality I’m going to be staying in a rather nice little suite at the Clifty Inn, in Clifty Falls State Park. I will have internet access (all the better to run around checking various publishers’ page requirements as I cobble this thing together), a fridge and a microwave AND a restaurant (but I’m a cheapskate so will probably only eat in the restaurant a couple of times), and even apparently a whirlpool bath. People, I know how to rough it in the woods. *grin* The woods are an important piece of the puzzle, though. I want to be able to go out and tromp around when my head gets too full of words.
I hope that in the process of whacking the poems together into a coherent manuscript (is “coherent” too much to hope for…?), I’ll also manage to do some serious revision on some of them. I definitely want to go back and look at a lot of my titles. I have boring titles.
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I did, last week, manage to revise a chapbook manuscript & sent it in to a contest just hours before the deadline (email submissions, o how I love thee). Feeling pretty good about that, as I think I improved the original manuscript significantly and by the time I hit send I rather liked what I had. It is definitely more thematically structured than the chapbook I’ve got coming out this summer, which is fun. We’ll see what happens.
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This past weekend I attended a reunion for alumni of the dorm I lived in as an undergrad. It’s not just a regular dorm – it’s the “Living-Learning Center” on campus and has always been known as the hippie, social-activist, artsy, happening dorm. Certainly it’s the only one I would have willingly lived in for three full years. There were a lot of people younger than me there, a few older, and a handful from “my era” – some of whom I hadn’t seen since the early eighties. (I lived there from 1979-1982.) Pretty wild. Even though I work just a couple blocks away now, I never go over there anymore – no reason to, really – so it was weird to be back inside those limestone halls.
In the evening there was an open-mic coffeehouse, which was really just like old times with some noisy punk-ish music, some folky acoustic music, a staged reading of part of a script, and some poetry. Yep, I read a few poems (hell, give me a stage and a microphone and I’ll take it anytime). I remembered so vividly the first poetry reading I took part in there, back in the fall of 1979. I was 18 years old and probably read some Terribly Sensitive Poetry. We had snacks set out on tables, and the coffeehouse was lit by candlelight. After I read there was an intermission, and I basked in the glow of having Shared My Terribly Sensitive Soul – for the first time in my life I felt like one of the cool kids. I got a snack, and leaned back against one of the tables talking to someone, basking in the glow et cetera …
…when all of a sudden this guy leaped forward and started whacking me on the back of my head.
Then I noticed the, er, slight scorched aroma around me.
Yep. I’d leaned back against a candle and set my long hair momentarily on fire.
So much for being cool. I think I was cool for about five minutes there, and then never again.
I’m more careful with candles at poetry readings now, I promise. And much less Terribly Sensitive, thank gawd. Still got long hair though.
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Headed up to my mom’s for the long weekend and some slightly-before-the-actual
Speaking of cars: "It will answer LIVE FISH OF INDIANA on the phone." You gotta check this out. You can't make this stuff up, people. Even though I live less than 20 miles from where this allegedly takes place, though, I don't think I live in the same state at all. This guy must live in that OTHER Indiana. Yeah, that's the ticket.