The Self-Granted Residency and My Year of Being Bad: First Week

Things are looking up for this old bird. 

The first week of classes has come and gone and they were pleasantly uneventful, blissfully routine. I continued my morning writing ritual and wrote three new poems. And today I begin the first of what will be, with luck and perseverance and a little bit of selfishness thrown in, the first of what I'm calling Long Form Fridays. (Because, you know, like the true dork I am, I love to give everything alliterative titles . . .)

Long Form Fridays are going to entail taking my butt to the Starbucks where I wrote while the kids were in camp and parking myself at a table to write for three hours. It seems like as good a place as any -- far enough away from my house and its chaos, definitely far enough from the campus and ITS noise and chaos -- where I can begin work again on my long-form projects: first, my Accountability Partners play, and after that, the verse play that's officially in Title Limbo (one of the reasons I need to sit and work on it more).

I found this scaryass mofo at an estate sale last week. (No, I didn't buy it.)
Also this week I received the manuscripts that we'll be using during the Sicily workshop, and that was an exciting reminder of the upcoming trip. I am ridiculously giddy about this trip to Italy. Between seeing Venice (which we'll be doing the weekend before Bread Loaf begins) and then getting some feedback on new poems (I put three from the new series at the end of my own manuscript packet) and also having hours of afternoon writing time while staring at the Mediterranean -- well, I'm just SO EFFING ELATED. It's difficult to imagine coming back only one week later and picking up where I left off: teaching classes, being a kiddie-carpool/taxi driver, perpetually cleaning my Disaster House.

Of course, I will have non-tedious things to return to as well: M.S. and I met briefly yesterday and brainstormed during a quick, lightning-fast conversation SO MANY THINGS. And some of them had to do with writing and art-making! First, the Repeat Pattern project probably won't be constructed through a sketchbook. It's too rooted in art that M.S. already made and that I became attached to and wanted to explore more with poems. Also, she just bought some accordion books and wants to try combining the art and writing on one of those, so they could be displayed to an audience in a gallery show more easily. (A sketchbook can't be picked up, feasibly, and just having it sit on a podium is really underwhelming . . .)

But also we do really like the sketchbook practice, so we're still buying a Muji notebook and we plan on exchanging that, back and forth, over the course of the academic year. Just because.

Word on the street (hahahaha, what am I, an 80s drug dealer?) is that almost all colleges across the nation are going through this panic moment of OH MY GOD WE HAVE NO MONEY because they all ignored the fact that about 20 years ago people were having fewer babies, and now fewer 20 year olds are seeking out higher education simply because there are fewer of them, and fewer students means lower revenue from student tuition and student fees but we're still operating as if it's the early 2000s recession and EVERYONE and their mom wanted to go back to college because they couldn't find jobs but now the economy's on an upswing and people have jobs and, as A.P. pointed out, there's mounting evidence that having a college education doesn't really guarantee "economic empowerment" (**eyeroll**) and so everyone's saying fuck college and so BIG DEFICITS. Also also, top heavy administrations, irresponsible spending, yadda yadda yadda.

Which means that sabbaticals and money for professional development will probably, albeit slowly, dry up and disappear. So . . . self-granted residencies like Long Form Fridays and self-imposed exiles from college service and committee nonsense (i.e. My Year of Being Bad) will become more and more important to teaching artists -- and hell, run-of-the-mill academics -- in higher ed.

Welp. Writing time is coming to a close because Little Miss Teen is about to walk out the front door for school, and Little Miss Talkalot and The Boy are about the rise and require my attention, so I'll leave you with this so-bad-it's-kinda-good joke from the teenager:

Q: How do the members of Led Zeppelin like their scones?

A: Rock Hard.

You're welcome, Internet. Happy Friday!


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