Saturday, June 6, 2015

Entries and re-entries

So today is my last day of the conference. Most people are leaving tomorrow after breakfast, but I am departing after today's lunch as today is my husband's birthday and I don't want to miss the family birthday dinner!

I am reluctant to leave the amazing nurturing bubble of this writing conference but it has to come to an end sometime. But before I go ruminating on that, a recap from last night:

* Terrific morning lecture by Ginger Strand with accompanying slideshow, which was not a powerpoint presentation, but more visual aid to what she was saying, an illustration. I'm re-thinking Niagara Falls, the geography of interstate highways, the landscape of small towns in decline. She was both insightful and hilarious, playing with language in her lecture. This whole conference, in general, has been thinking and re-thinking about a lot of things, much of which I hope to retain! (Sometimes mommy brain causes amnesia. One of the side effects of motherhood.)

* Workshop! We talked about a couple of my poems --again, the folks in this group offered insightful feedback. I got some new ways to think about and approach my work. It was really helpful in giving me ways to turn the poem(s) in my hand like a jewel and look at all the facets, how the light hits each angle, and how to enter the poem in a different way.

* Lunch conversation: we talked about the written word, about how that's a commitment to making the internal external, to making it real --an actual thing-- by putting it down in ink on paper. How that makes it a concrete, tangible thing. Something you can hold in your hands. And how, usually, you can't take it back once you've put it out there. Sure, you can burn it --but it's already seen the light of day. You've put it outside of yourself. Even saying things out loud: once you put it out there, you can't take it back. Like toothpaste: you can't put it back in the tube.

* Afternoon class: a roundtable discussion with the editors of Orion magazine. Helpful information about the print publishing process, particularly knowing their 6 month lead time. It must be difficult to not get caught up in the pace of instant gratification of digital publishing. But in listening to them, they sound really really invested in putting together an outstanding magazine. And that is awesome!

* Evening festivities: they bussed us up to Snow Bowl (a ski resort) for a Friday night outing. Happy hour, dinner, live music, and if you were so inclined, dancing. It was a good time (I'll leave that to your imagination). We even took a class photo:


Now, I'm in reflective mode. Thinking about this week and all that has happened. How much my brain has stretched and reached in ways that I have missed. How I hope those pathways are strengthened and can brighten with more frequent use. A lot has happened, new ideas have been born, and to be in community with other writers is quite a thing to be cherished. One of my new poet-friends, Kate, told me that she tends to feel effusive at these kinds of things. There is a kind of love here, built through support and empathy in this journey called writing. And I will miss that. Not that this is an end--no, it's not--but that the daily-ness of this kind of interaction, of this feeling will end. I plan to stay connected with my new poet-friends, hoping this is the beginning of sustaining the growth we have all started here at Bread Loaf Orion.

(On a half-joking side note: re-entry into the regular world is going to be a bitch!)

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