20 June 2021

Just a quick update, post orientation.

Yesterday afternoon was Community of Writers' orientation, so I spent several hours getting acclimated to what will happen for the rest of the week. 

We had to write a poem for this morning--to be uploaded by 8 am--so it was a difficult thing to manage this morning. We didn't really have any craft talks yesterday, so it was without a prompt. I don't think my poem is great, but I did draft something, which is a step in the right direction. 

Yesterday, as we began, poet Brenda Hillman said that earning a place in the workshop is fairly competitive. She went on to say something akin to, "if you received an invitation to attend this week, then someone read your poems and really loved them." What a wonderful way to think about the process of selection. 

This morning, our first full day of work, I am assigned to work with Sharon Olds. I wish my poem was better, but I am still really looking forward to the experience. Excitement is outweighing anxiety. Robert Hass is attending as a participant this summer, and he's in my morning session with Sharon Olds. 

I may as well get all of the nervousness out of the way by jumping right into the deep end.

19 June 2021

Today is the day! It's the start of the Summer Poetry Workshop!

I am really excited that the Community of Writers' Summer Poetry Workshop is finally here--we begin at 2:00 pm today! 

I finished up with school on Tuesday afternoon--I had to work five 12-hour days in a row, through last weekend, to get everything done, but I was able to add an auto-reply to my email and leave UCC behind until July 5th when summer school begins. (I'm only teaching one literature course, so it will take up a small fraction of my time.)

This spring term was really rough--I was so busy, I felt, all the time. I was up for my five-year evaluation this year, so during a pandemic, I was also pushing myself to return student work with grades at a break-neck pace, just so my response time was impeccable (I am sure no one checked--but it made me feel good to know I could be that responsive under the pressures of this remote work year). I had some trouble with a student this term, too, and that took up a good deal of free time. I haven't been writing, and I've not been submitting as regularly. Fortunately, I still have work out in the world, but I need to spend some time in the next week or two getting my submissions updated and sending out new work into the world. 

So, this impending workshop couldn't have fallen at a better time. I've had a few days off to sleep and relax, and starting today, I'll have craft talks and interactions with authors and participants to inspire me and motivate me. I am really looking forward to using this week-long workshop as an opportunity to recharge and generate some new work. I love that we'll be focusing on new poetry each day--I'm guaranteed to have at least seven new poems by this time next week, and I'm thrilled about that prospect. 

We did receive our schedules for the week, and each participant gets to work with each instructor once . . . but we work with one instructor two times. My "two time" instructor is Kazim Ali, which I am really excited about. I am new to reading his work, but it's beautiful, and I can't wait to learn from him. 

So, I will likely not be posting any updates this coming week, but starting on June 27th, look out. I will be done with the workshop and looking to focus my energies on my poetry.

01 June 2021

Treading Water.

It's Week 10 of spring term, and next week is Final Exam Week. I am buried in grading and general prep work for the end of the term, yet I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I posted to the blog. 

I haven't been writing, and frankly, I've wasted a lot of time while dealing with my knee injury. I'm now going to physical therapy, and I meet with an orthopod on the 8th, so I'm hopefully close to the end of my knee being an excuse. 

Just this week, though, I did move a pile of brick pavers that have been stacked against my house since I bought the place 3.5 years ago. I moved just a few bricks at a time, never overexerting myself. I used my garden cart to carry the bricks, too. I made two circular raised flower beds out of them, and I have enough left for a third bed, but I'm not sure if it's in the cards. I want to leave enough room in the back yard to add a fruit tree this fall.The great part of adding these beds is that it's where I've been able to throw all the clumps of lawn and sod that I'd dug up to add those blueberry bushes earlier this spring. Eventually this summer, I plan to move my whole compost pile into the second of those empty beds, and let it continue to decompose until next spring.

Today it's supposed to hit 99 degrees, and I don't have air conditioning. Hopefully, I'll be getting a new ductless system installed in the next few weeks, but I'm left to suffer in the meantime. Yesterday it was 90, and it was bearable, but it didn't cool off overnight like I'd hoped. 

So, I'm cooped up in the house, windows closed, and I'm trying to slog through the last two recommendation reports I need to grade for my technical writing course. 

I'm trying to take baby steps toward getting back to the home improvement chores that I had to abandon when I was hurt. I'm hoping to get the living room painted before the HVAC guys come, but I just don't know if it's going to happen yet.