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Monday, July 20, 2015

grad school again pt. 1

Grad School Summer II
Part 1

Saturday, June 18th

Live from Ashland University... It's Saturday night!

Here I am again for my 2nd of 3 summer residency programs that
characterize the Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing. If I
stick to just poetry, i'm at the mid-point. But I'm likely going
to do a second genre in creative nonfiction. That will add more
time and work. As usual, I'm making things harder on myself. I
tend to do that with education. I truly love to learn.

The day started out with an alarm clock, a cozy bed and a black
cat curled up beside me.

Bast said, "Let's snooze... But don't reset that nasty alarm

I said, "Zzzzzzz..." The rest is history.

Remember, Winter is coming...

I just started reading the first Game of Thrones book. It's
blazing hot outside, but during the car ride to Ashland it's been
told that Winter is coming.

We got checked in, found the apartment (same as last year) and
began the fun part of trying to get organized in a strange place.
I was quick to mark the fridge and microwave and learn how to
work them.

Mark a fridge? Yep. It's new and comes with a touch pad for ice
or water. The freaky thing is connected to a pipe so you don't
have to re-fill anything. I think that fridge might be smarter
than me.

Once Dad and the interpreter left, I explored the place, started
unpacking and made my bed. I remember my trick of how to find
electrical outlets -- follow the yellow brick road.. I mean find
a lamp and follow the cord. Because of all my special technology,
I've already unplugged four lamps. I wonder what the next person
who uses the place thinks when none of the lamps work. I suspect
I don't really care.

There's plenty of Wizard of Oz if you're in the section with the
right student. I am for both weeks.

Boy, I needed to pee. First problem -- the toilet won't flush.

Boy, I was thirsty. Second problem -- No ice would come out of
the fridge and I flooded the kitchen trying to figure out how to
make it work. I finally got it and also cleaned up the kitchen.
No doubt about it, the fridge is smarter than me.

I came up with a stroke of brilliance for this year. I bought a
wallflower from Bath and Body Works. Now my pad for the next to
weeks smells like brilliant citrus. It gets even better, although
I admit I didn't plan it this way. The wallflower is plugged into
an outlet near an end table that I always run into. When I smell
oranges at its strongest, I know to stop and avoid the table. I'm
smarter than a table but dumber than a fridge.

What do you know? I fixed that big, bad potty all by myself. I'm
smarter than a toilet. Brownie points for me!

Sunday, July, 10th

If it can go wrong, it is going wrong.

I started the day with a mighty dive off the side of the bed. I
thought I was at the head of the bed, not a corner. I didn't get
enough bed under my butt and down she goes! I landed hard in an
awkward position on my left arm. I though I must have broken it.
There's just a tender spot and the rest is fine. Maybe my bones
are made of rubber.

I went outside to meet my terps for lunch. They had no wheelchair
and no car. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the cafeteria. Sure,
I can do it. But I need to save my energy and arm muscles for

Someone arrived with a wheelchair during lunch. I got in it to
leave the cafeteria... no foot rests. We abandoned the wheels and
walked to the car. Maybe part two will play better.

As I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of
the movie house, I had two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a
ride home.

Wait a second, my name isn't Ponyboy, thank god for that.

I'm wishing for drinking straws and baby powder. Some of my
smarty-pants friends on Facebook think this is code for something
kinky. But, no, it's exactly what I want.

The cafeteria doesn't have straws. When there's a lot of ice in
the cup, I can't get enough drink in my mouth for a good gulp. I
gotta have a straw.

The powder is for my new shoes. Just like a grade school kid,
I've got new, spiffy white shoes. My father brought them over
yesterday while I was running late and trying to swallow a peanut
and butter jelly Uncrustable. He showed me the box, opened it and
I felt tissue paper. Always hopeful, I asked "donuts?"

I quickly struggled into the snug, new shoes, and we left. So it
wasn't until I arrived at Ashland that I realized my mistake --
new shoes need powder or else my braces will squeak. That's
exactly what they are doing, and it's driving me nuts.

Monday, July 20th

The schedule looks something like this
9:00 to 11:45 Writing Workshop
1:00 to 2:30 Craft Seminar
7:00 to 8:30 Reading

The latter two are with everyone in the MFA program, regardless
of year or genre. In the first week, the morning workshop is for
students in the same year and genre. There are five students and
one teacher. This same group will be together during Fall online

The second week is for students of the same genre but mixed in
what year they are in. We got to pick the topic we wanted to
take. As it turns out, I have the same teacher for both weeks.

Much of today was a mess. The sad part is that I suspected there
was a problem but could do nothing to stop up it from happening,
although I sure did try. For week two, I received the syllabus,
student packet and small anthology the teacher put together. For
week one, I only got the packet. I asked admin if there were
other materials for week one. I was told I had everything. I
tried four times to write to the teacher in the few weeks before
the residency. She never got my emails. So here I was today
without the anthology and that was not good. It won't be ready
for tomorrow, either. I am quickly falling behind.

I usually take a nap after the craft seminar. I had weird dreams.
In one, my nemesis attacked me. It was scary and violent. He said
something really odd. "Your alarm clock didn't go off, and you
are going to be late." I woke with a start to find I had ten
minutes to get ready for the night's poetry reading. I hate that
monster clock.

Ashland teaches three genres: poetry, fiction and nonfiction. I
find it amusing that, at least to me, the signs for fiction and
fake look the same. When we did introductions, I learned that
some people are in poetry, a small group is fake and the rest are
not fake.

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