Monday, June 25, 2012

Returning to Montpelier and VCFA

Our bed. In packing mode.
This is the state of my bedroom. For my Mom, this will probably bring flashbacks (or, as I like to call them, fond memories) of the state of my teenaged bedroom.

But no: this is my bed, now, as I pack for 11 days in Montpelier, Vermont, at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. I fly out Wednesday morning for my second residency, and thus the beginning of my second semester in the MFA in Writing program.

I'm looking forward to it: 10 days of lectures, readings, workshop, and just being around writerly people. I'll get a new advisor for this new semester, and I'm curious about whom it'll be. And as much as I'm a wee bit sad (and a bit anxious) about leaving my family for that long--namely my two year-old--I'm looking forward to 10 days of just thinking about myself.

Sounds supremely selfish. But it's true. Only having to worry about me, about where I need to be and what I need to do, will be heaven. It also doesn't hurt that I'm renting a house in Montpelier with friends I'd made over the last residency. I'm envisioning wine on the front porch, exchanging of book lists, lots of talk (okay, gossip).  

My first semester as an MFA in Writing student was an interesting one. It flew by, and I never truly felt like I'd a minute to slow down. Truthfully, it was a balance act--teacher/mother/wife/writer/student--with a landing I'm afraid I didn't quite stick. I'm hoping that this coming semester will be a bit more manageable, if only because I've done it before.

Running the gauntlet
(Photo credit;
Even as I write that--be a bit more manageable--I cringe. Because I know that won't be true. Happily, my novel comes out September 15th, which is obviously a dream quite literally coming true. But with it comes several months of promotions, some travel, and quite a bit of work. I'm also teaching classes. And, oh yeah, back being a grad student. Trying to coordinate these roles alongside navigating family life at times feels like running the gauntlet.

You know the gauntlet, right? It can be as fierce as the picture to the right--all medieval and brutal and sharp--or as ridiculous as one of those Japanese reality shows where the contestants are knocked by enormous rubber waterwheels into foaming florescent water. My life seems more like the latter--really, really funny at times. With an ouch.

It's been an exceptionally busy few weeks. Good weeks, but crazy ones. My daughter is out of school. My husband took a new job that has him traveling and working from home. (More on the two-people-in-the-house-working-from-home hootenanny in a later post.) We celebrated his birthday and our 8th anniversary with our first date in months, which was wonderful. We went to an early movie and dinner in Asheville, N.C.

My husband and me, celebrating our 8th anniversary
(The movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, which I thought I'd be ambivalent about but which I really, really enjoyed. Charlize Theron is fantastic as the evil queen, Chris Hemsworth brings surprising dimension and even tenderness to the Hunstman, and Kristin Stewart makes a darn good bad-ass. Plus, the abundance of Golden Globe, Emmy and Oscar-winning actors is a win: Ian McShane, Theron, and more.)
I've yet to figure out how to successfully navigate life as a fully-functioning (read successful) workingwritingMomwifefriend. I've read dozens of books and blogs on the subject, hoping that one would hold the magic key. Most say the same thing: get organized, schedule, enlist help, make time for yourself.  

Time for yourself. Bah ha ha ha ha.

Kidding, kidding. It is possible. It can be done. Just maybe not this week....

* I may post while at VCFA, I may not. I hope you all have a wonderful end of June!

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