...and of course it does but let's not go mistaking sheer mental exhaustion for boredom!
On thing this program does not allow time for is blogging, though if the program designers were truly on top of it they would cuz it's a good way to kinda solidify the veritable shitload of information that's been shoveled onto your head in a day and sort it out. But after all the classes, lectures, readings, and homework it's not like there's a few hours left to surf, blog, email, and do all those things many of us spend most of our waking lives doing. And it all starts over the next day...
Today it started early. At 5:30 this morning some walleyed wooden-toothed carney fired up some heinous noisemaker like a generator only louder down in the parking lot 8 floors below my cell. My windows were open but not for long. After I buried my head in the limp university dorm-issue pillows I slept til 7. Before the 8:30 lecture I tired to catch up on all the stuff I was supposed to be prepared for but didn't get too far.
Then it was time for a talk on "Postulation and Belief: One Writer's Assumption." Way too abstract for 8:30 in the morning, and of course rife with poetry. (I have since taken a vow to forgo all poetry until 3PM in the afternoon on rainy days, 5 on sunny ones.) Pairing specific assumptions with specific poems that are physical representations of those assumptions, and why developing assumptions might be a very good habit for writer just isn't shit you wanna get involved with first thing in the morning any more than a 3000 decibel generator is a good wake up call.
At 10:00 we "workshop", which is the latest in popular literary program verbs. "Whatchya doin' Snookums?" "I'm workshoppin, can't ya tell?" When we workshop here we work the shop like a ZZ Top song: we read our workshoppers stuff and, rather than attempting to rip the writer a new one, we actually discuss what we like about the piece, and fortunately in a program at this level the writing is all very high quality (excepting mine) so it's not hard to find lots of things to like. We either read a novel excerpt or a short story, and, thanks to the gentle ministrations of our loving guides, we collectively work on helping the writer take the work where they want it to go. Except in my case, where chances are my fellow workshoppers will take the writer right out the door, plop him in a cab to the airport and send him home. (My work has yet to be workshopped - tomorrow is my big day. All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, standin' here outside your door, I hate to wake you up to say goodbye but the dawn is breakin it's early morn taxi's waiting he's blowin his horn so go outside and tell that bastard to shut the up!
After a hard mornin' of some heavy workshoppin' it's time for lunch, which means grab a sandwich and head back to the room and try and cram so you're prepared for the afternoon classes. Today there was a funk band in the quad trying to get people to dance instead of eat, which I hear is a responsible and popular substitute particularly when dancing to the classic 70's disco stuff. Even though it was high noon these guys were singin oh now it's ladie's night and the feelin's right so let's not have a bite go fly a kite. They also played a Jame Brown medly to bewildered 20 somethings who as far as I could tell did not feel particularly good, nor was there any evidence of a brand new bag.
Ironically one of the afternoon classes was about the use of time in storytelling, which is something James Brown employed extensively especially in his later works like "Get up Offa That Thing" and "Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)". We talked about fixed time, linear time (is it any surprise that this is the most common mode of time used in storytelling? Kinda goes with that hackneyed notion a story should have a beginning, middle and end...), but there is also "time remembered" or in my case "time I done forgot"). Tomorrow, which from a linear perspective is expected to happen at some point after now, we will talk about time again. So stay tuned!
That wasn't all we did today. We also talked about the "composite novel" or a "story cycle", but I just can't blog it out of me tonight. It's all the poetry, you see. Poh-eh-tree, not good for me.