In three weeks, I will be taking part in a 10-day residency, as part of my MFA. The residency is designed as a writers' retreat, where 10-12 hours a day is spent workshopping, writing, editing, revising, reading, and listening to guest speakers. Just the other day, I received an itinerary for the program, and literally my every 15 minutes, from the time I wake up to the time I rest my head, is accounted for. It's kind of like a boot camp for writers.
As I leaf through the time tables, I find myself excited, but also filled with a bit of nervous-anxiousness. It has dawned on me that never in my life have I been allowed the opportunity to focus completely on my passion for writing, for any amount of an extended period. My writing and my focus have always been interrupted for one reason or another (mostly due to having to go to a "real job", where I actually make money), and I have learned to accept the disjointed schedule it has created for me. But in the last week of July, I will be appreciating the life of a monk; with a generous amount of time for me to honor my own path to enlightenment, as I meditate on the written word for those ten days.
In the weeks to come, I will be preparing for the residency; adding to and revising my manuscript, putting together a portfolio of some of my other writing (short stories, essays, and poetry), and reading up on the works of Francine Prose (the guest writer in attendance). I've just begun her book Reading Like a Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them, and I am still waiting for Lives of Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired, to arrive.
I had a little moment of serendipity when I was reading the synopsis of Lives of Muses, because apparently in this book Prose profiles the relationship of Marie Rainer Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salome. I felt a flutter in my heart and an instant connection to Prose, for the work of Rilke has been a huge inspiration for me. And if it was an inspiration to her as well, then we have been brought together under a shared commonality, and it will be a much more rewarding experience to workshop with her and learn from her.
Prose makes an honest statement in Reading Like a Writer, that shows that she is down-to-earth and also has a appreciation for other writers, which I find important when selecting a mentor to learn from :
"Each of us will meet a different harbinger of personal failure, some innocent genius chosen by us for reasons having to do with what we see as our own inadequacies. The only remedy to this I have found is to read a writer whose work is entirely different from another, though not nescessarily more like your own- a difference that will remind you of how many rooms there are in the house of art."
There is a lot to look forward to in the near future and the distant future, and I am embracing all of it. This experience, earning my MFA, will be life-changing and the outcome, unpredictable. But it is my hope, after two solid years of finding my voice, it will be worthy enough to share with the public; published and bound.
The great thing about sharing these steps, here on this blog, is that this is a first-hand account, of the growth and changes that occur when someone discovers a path and decides to follow it. And though I do not expect fame nor wealth in this pursuit, success to me, is touching another with my art and giving them inspiration of their own. Nothing is more rewarding, than sharing all one has acquird along the way, with a perspective that is unique and unduplicating.
So, wish me luck on this journey and I promise to keep up with the postcards!
With much thought and sincerity,