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In Boston again

I am in Boston for my third MFA residency. Strangely, I am not in the mood. I am feeling low – not in the mood to think or work or be participatory. That isn’t like me.


 


Tonight, we had a welcome event. There are 26 incoming freshmen. We heard Kudos of the staff and students, announcements, and everyone got reacquainted. It is lovely seeing the returning students – catching up. I spent some time with my mentor from last term, Laurie. I brought her a gift. I found a wall hanging in an art gallery that is quirky and different—I don’t know, it isn’t something I’d buy anyone else, but it suits her. It’s a shoe, all gaudily decorated with a cutout of Elvis – one of his movies the featured theme. Her last novel was titled “Before Elvis there was Nothing” so this art has meaning. (She can hang it on the wall of her house where before, there was nothing) I wrote her a nice thank-you note. Frankly, it is a conversation piece, sort of odd, but then, so is her surreal writing. I suppose she’ll understand the sentiment behind the offering. I am grateful for all the time and attention she devoted to me these past six months and I just wanted to express it.


 


I met with my new professor, AJ. She is a demanding, professional sort of teacher and I am very excited to work with her. A few of the students asked who I was working with and when they heard it was her, they lifted their eyebrows and said, “Eeek. She is so intimidating.” She is, and yet, I’m looking forward to the experience.


 


I hunted down my first mentor, Bill to say hello too. This was difficult due to past discomfort between us – which I attribute to my total insanity and a collection of circumstances that served to make me crazy last residency. I have great respect for this man, and if anything, I felt shame approaching him, because rather than honor and trust him, I questioned his commitment to working with me last term (due to outside influences, rumor, and my own frustration). Actually, I didn’t actually complain about him, but about a student in my group, but it came across as my being disappointed in his mentorship.  I don’t want to go into it.  I will be working with him this week in the large group workshops. My goal is to “fix” what I broke. It means the world to me that I do. I just don’t know how to go about it gracefully.    Perhaps that is why I’m feeling low. It eats me up to be out of sorts with people that are important to me.


 


I listened to two readings tonight, a fiction writer and a poet. I was unmoved. This in not to imply that the writers were not good – only an affirmation of my uninspired state.  Perhaps it’s because I got up a 5AM this morning to get to the airport and I’m tired. Or maybe it’s the glass of wine I had after the session to relax. I don’t know. Is there such a thing as a mid-way academic slump? I could be the poster child for that. My roommate gets here tomorrow. I am glad to be alone tonight – it helps me to diffuse and transition from home life to student.


 


I think I need to sleep. First, I’ll read. Then, with hope, I’ll dream. I’ll order up a nice, positive dream to jump start my engine. For someone who is usually on fire, I feel like my pilot light has gone out.


 


I think, the reason this residency is trying for me is because I have no one to share it with. Family members, friends, indulge my talking about writing, but only to be polite.  This has become a solitary endeavor. I feel on my own in my pursuits nowadays.


Makes me low.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

2 responses »

  1. Hi Ginny! I feel really creepy right now, but I’m going to be in Boston, too, soon. I’m visiting my grandmother, some other relatives, and various colleges between June 26 and July 3. If you’ll still be up there and have any free time (and aren’t too creeped out by my lurking your blog), I’d love to say hi to you. It’s a strange coincidence… and I understand that you’ll probably be very busy, but I miss you Hendrys and it’s been waaaay too long since anybody called me “Doodad”. I suppose I should explain myself. I found this site about a month ago. I was really excited to make this discovery because you discuss such diverse and inspirational things in your blog, all with a unique voice: simultaneously vibrant, playful, and wise. It’s hard to describe, but it’s very Ginny. Your life, your writing — they’re fascinating. I look up to you not only as my fantastic former dance teacher, but also as someone who really excels at everything due to hard work, dedication, a kind heart, and boundless creativity. I’m really glad to have been influenced by you. -Nicole R.

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  2. Nicole,
    You could never “creep me out” even if you tried. Well, maybe you could if you decided to do a pointe solo in tap shoes while wearing a moo moo to the FLEX song. (It would be the song I’d object to, of course – the dance might prove interesting.) Blogs are to be read, and if you read mine, I’m honored. I don’t promote it to past students, simply because I doubt they’d be interested – not much about dance in here – and Lord knows, I am honest to a fault, which some would claim is a danger to “impressionable” young-uns. I suspect, with your intelect, you can weed through my commentary and understand the honest intentions without flipping out or miss reading it and twisting basic every-man philosophy into ignition for drama. Good colleges here – I’m thrlled you are looking far and wide. I won’t however, be able to meet you. Not for a lack of wishing I could. I leave on July 1st, and till then, every minute is scheduled. I have classes all day and readings at night, and I crawl into bed after these 12 hour days to read the work (a second time) that we will be discussing the next afternoon. It is tough. Unfortunately, what free time I can carve out was on the first day. I teach dance here every August, you might remember, and I feel badly that I can’t have a dinner with some friends from that skein of life too. Always think of them when i am here, but work prevails.  Bummer.  But, I will be back in Sarasota often enough, and I’ll make a point of looking for Doodad. Have a fun trip. It is raining this week. Beware. This town is gray enough without that. It is a very good thing to see life from a new angle. Changing where you live or what you pursue, or who you bother to talk to – really talk to – is a very good thing. Widens your perspective and makes you grow. Remember that as you prepare for your next life journey – college and escaping Sarasota. I know your last few years were not always easy. I’m guessing the best is yet to come, and I am excited for you. Heck, I’m excited for the world cause they don’t know what is being unleashed.  Bet you don’t either. But I’ve seen wonderful things in you all along. 
    I’ll be thinking about you today and your lovely comment when a class gets boring. Thank you for that.Love Miss Ginny 

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