Psssst. Are you there readers? It’s me, No. 7.
For all of you two people who still come over to read my sporadic posts, thank you. In the short attention span that comes with life in Blog World, I’m losing my audience in droves.
I tell myself all of the hard work I’m doing is worth it. I’m in graduate school for cripe’s sake. I’m honing my skills and hopefully someday I’ll publish a book…that someone will want to buy. A girl can dream, right?
Let me give you a little background on my monthly requirements. Stonecoast is a low residency MFA program, meaning that we meet twice a year for ten days to workshop our manuscripts with faculty and fellow students, attend faculty and graduate presentations and engage in all sorts of debauchery in Maine. Last July was my very first residency at Stonecoast and I was terrified. Despite my seemingly endless supply of words and snarky humor, I get nervous when I’m required to spend 10 days away from home with complete strangers who will be critiquing my writing.
Frankly, after precisely 24 hours I realized that I’d finally found my tribe. Sure, I came home drained and needing to sleep for a month, but it was good and I’m excited for the January residency.
Between residencies, we work with a faculty mentor who does close readings our work on a monthly basis and tailors assignments and reading lists to help us improve our material. On the 23rd of each month since August, I’ve been submitting writing packets. The material varies each month, depending on what my fabulous mentor assigns. I’m in the creative non-fiction genre at Stonecoast and I tend to submit an odd collection of work. On the one hand, I’m writing humor pieces and you’ve probably read the first drafts of several right here at Narragansett No. 7. On the other hand, I’m writing memoir pieces, some of which are also in draft form here. As my writing packets accumulate, my reading list has evolved to include several traumatic memoirs and fun ghost stories. Yikes…what does this say about my childhood?
So, as my blog sits empty, waiting for posts that no one shows up to read anymore, I’m busy writing to meet my monthly deadlines. This month, I also had to finish my manuscript for submission by November 1st. That’s the manuscript that my fellow workshop members and faculty leaders will critique at the January residency. With two different workshops, I was able to submit humor pieces for the first and the memoir/ghost story for the second.
Over the past 24 days I have read five books. I wrote somewhere around 54 pages of material and I tried to be an effective full-time mommy. Kate, in that very Kate way of hers, picked now to potty train. Right in the middle of my packet/manuscript crunch. Today I’m scrambling to create a mummy wrap worthy of Joe’s vision of a “vampire mummy”. Nothing like some last minute Halloween costumes! We haven’t even carved our pumpkins yet thanks to that rogue snowstorm that knocked out power yesterday afternoon. Come to think of it…this truly has evolved into one scary Halloween thanks to my frazzled nerves and lack of regular showers.
Thank goodness for Dave. He drove over to the Stonecoast offices at USM this morning to drop my completed manuscripts off.
If you’re interested in knowing what I was busy reading fr0m September 25th through October something, here’s the list:
Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Breaking Night by Liz Murray
Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale
Daddy Needs a Drink by Robert Wilder
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
If you’re wondering where I’ve been, now you know. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to catch up on some posts at No. 7 and still have some readers to enjoy them!
By the way, if you’re shopping for a low residency MFA program, I highly recommend Stonecoast.