Friday, December 06, 2013

Getting Here | Zero Day

Time for my fifth and final residency with UC Riverside's Palm Desert MFA program.


Sunrise this morning as I waited for the coffee shop to open.

Being back at residency gives me a reason to try to start writing daily again--if for no other reason than to document this experience as I have every other time I've been here. I like being able to look back at the posts to remember what happened. I've been pretty lax about making any kind of effort on the olde blog of late, but I now that my thesis, grad lecture and related shenanigans are pretty much wrapped up (albeit for the presentation of said grad lecture), I don't see any reason not to be writing here anymore.

It's strange to think about contrasts, how different I felt yesterday as I navigated the 99 to I-5 to 210 to 57 to 10 freeway changes without panic and sweaty palms. The me from December of 2011 wouldn't have recognized the me of yesterday. But that's true in a much larger sense. And even when I think about writing, here. When I wrote about residency that first time, I was writing essentially in a void (or at least I felt like I was) and I didn't know anyone at my school. Now sometimes people read what I write. Now these are my people. Friends, colleagues, professors. All of them. So strange, in the best of ways, to belong. I felt like such an outsider for my entire first residency--I was driving toward something that first time that felt completely foreign, and it wasn't until I was done with it that I even thought hmm, maybe. It's just different now.

Anyway, I had the easiest drive I've ever had. I listened to a book about cheese for the entire nine hour drive: Michael Paterniti's The Telling Room. It was good, but by about hour seven I wanted to be done listening to a book about cheese. I just wished it was shorter. (I finished that and one more book last night. That brings me to 47/50. I think I might make my goal of 50.) The book made the time pass quickly, and the familiarity of the drive made it stress-free.

I got here, checked in to the same room I've had all four times I've stayed at this hotel, and hit up Bristol Farms for the oddest assortment of delicious premade foods. I promptly came back to the hotel and ate everything in what I can only describe as a fit of fatigue-driven gluttony. I had my PJs on by 6:30, and I passed out by (I think) 8:30 PM next to my computer. Party, party. That, my friends, is why I get here a day early. Nobody wants to be the girl who falls asleep mid-sentence at the opening reception.

Everyone else should be arriving today, though there are some mean storms across the country canceling flights. I'm hoping for safe travels for everybody, if not timely ones.

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