Lesley Residency 1.4

Nothing could have topped yesterday for me but today certainly did try. It began with an annoying drive in through the normal weekday traffic, something I hadn’t experienced, for the most part, in almost a year and a half. That drive was quickly forgotten though, when I sat down to breakfast and pounded out a revised outline of how my story might go, based on the comments I received yesterday.

We had two seminars in the morning. One was an overview of the elements involved in writing for young people, which was just expertly delivered by David Elliott. The other was titled, “Truth & Fact” and it was a discussion on the differences between the two and the way that creative nonfiction is tackled, both by the audience and the artist.

After lunch we returned to workshop. Most of us were a little late because of a quirk on the schedule, but we did eventually get started under the direction of the third of the three fiction faculty members, Christina Shea. Christina was a bit more directive with the discussion than Michael or Indira were the day before, but this was not a bad thing. On such a long day I think it was welcome that she took over a bit more. Under Christina’s direction we tackled two stories by my fellow fiction writer Emmanuella Maurice.

Indira came back to instruct after that and we covered a story by Mary, one of her students. After Mary’s story we did another couple of exercizes. One of them, where we were instructed to construct a scene about our grandmothers, proved particularly fruitful to me. I liked what I came up with and it was so well-received by the workshop that I honestly felt as if I might be able to pull off this dramatized family history I’ve been thinking about.

I left class and sat down to read a couple of books for tomorrow’s seminar that I had borrowed from Sara and then I followed the crowd into dinner, which was, for the first night this week, not quite good. We talked for quite a while after dinner, a whole bunch of us, and then I went outside to read some more before tonight’s reading.

Michael, who hadn’t been around all day, stopped by my bench for a bit of light conversation before his reading. Eventually one of the other faculty members, Janet Sylvester, came by as well and though I didn’t get all of my reading done, I did appreciate getting to listen in and occasionally get involved in their conversation.

Michael gave a wonderful reading from his book Avoidance and then Deborah Wiles, one of the writing for young people instructors, read first from a text-only piece, and then treated us with one of her picture books, using the slide projector to make it easier to see.

The residency continues to surprise me with the ways in which it fulfills a long starving portion of my soul.