Monday, December 05, 2011

Once more into the breach: Day 4

I can feel my brain stretching. I must be forming new neural pathways, because I am so freaking hungry.  I am going through copious amounts of carbohydrate in the form of the free red licorice they stock in the UCR office.

But--

Photo on 12-5-11 at 9.39 AM #3


I'm still getting up and putting my best foot forward every day. Still taking advantage of all there is to learn here. And still rockin' the straight hair from yesterday.  I asked Marilyn to be in my picture with me today.

I didn't have much on the schedule this morning, so I scheduled two sit-downs.  I must have been nervous last night, because I woke up at 3:00 AM and couldn't fall back to sleep very easily.  I started thinking about the San Andreas Fault and how close it is and I pretty much made myself a nervous wreck about everything from personal faults to fault lines.  My constant need to worry about life is even more charming in the middle of the night.

Since I didn't sleep well I walked over to breakfast only to pick it up and bring it back to my room so I could get ready and think about what I wanted to ask the guests.  I didn't cute myself up, but I at least put on jeans and a sweatshirt so I was presentable.  After I had some food in me I could lean hard into the task that is making myself appear professional and NOT weird.

I feel really honored that I get to sit down and pick the brains of these established authors and publishers, so today I just asked both of them what they know now that they wish they'd known as a complete newbie to the publishing/writing world.  I got two completely different answers, but as most things are going here, they were both helpful and pushed me to think outside my own comfy little box.

I had some time between interviews and fiction workshop, so I took a drive toward Rancho Mirage to check out the hotel where I'll have my next residency in June, Rancho Las Palmas.  It's not as Vegas-glitzy as this place... and I hear it's got much less of a skanky MTV vibe in the summer.  (Apparently this hotel I'm in now has quite a rep.)  Boy is the new one nice.  The grounds were beautiful and expansive.  It should be a great place for a week of writing (although I'm enjoying myself at the old one, too).

This is Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage:

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After my little jaunt through the desert towns of southern California, I called the monkeys.  I was having some lingering anxiety and feeling a little homesick all day.  I stopped at the McD and got a little cheeseburger magic, but it didn't really take the edge off.  Can someone please tell me why Palm Springs doesn't have that thing where any size drink at McDonald's is a dollar?  Rip off.

Anyway.  After I returned I had fiction workshop, which was great and inspiring and even more thought-provoking than it was two days ago... but it lasted four hours.  And my little thoughts are starting to feel like if they're provoked any more, they might just go a little postal.  Thinking is good but it can be overwhelming.  It was good that I took some solo time today, and I am taking some more this evening.

I feel really inspired to write but I am not sure I have the energy to do much more than collapse at night. (And since I had someone ask--we're not expected to write or produce anything while we're here.  It's all theory and networking and workshopping our pieces that we've already written this term.  But the productive side of me wants to take advantage of this big quiet living space I have, I'm hopeful I can do at least some while I'm down here.)  So, in essence I am right where I am supposed to be.  I am tired and inspired.  I am vacillating constantly between crippling fear that I'll never be able to take on the task of getting something published and a sort of quiet confidence that's emerging in my skills.

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