Well, it's a grad student dorm, so I have a room to myself, but it's a tiny cinderblock room. It's big enough to write and sleep in, so it's really all I need.
Today was the first class of my graduate career and it was a fiction workshop. I'll have one every semester of my two years here. It was fine, for the first day. We talked about Denis Johnson and having a writing career and workshops and how we should all be friends and get drunk together. We did a little writing exercise and had to share them. These are really good writers I'm working with, if I had to judge them solely on today. I've got my work cut out for me (because, yes, it's a fucking contest.)
I volunteered to be in the first batch of stories that are getting read for next week. It's a story that was a semi-finalist for the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest this year, but it's never been workshopped, so I'm throwing her in the ring. My next story will be due October 4th and that one will have to be a new piece.
Remember when Nebraska passed that law where you could—no questions asked—abandon your child off at any hospital with no repercussions? It was supposed to be an abortion-deterrent, a sort of post-birth control. What they didn't realize was that they didn't set an age limit on it, so people started showing up, dropping off their teenagers. Fourteen to seventeen year-olds, abandoned at rural hospitals. I think I'm going to write a story from the perspective of a teenager whose mom is driving him (from several states away) to abandon him.
Sound pleasant, right? It'll be a real knee-slapper.
Or I don't know. I'm feeling creatively dry lately. But I have until October to figure it out, so yay?
I'm really missing Madison and my friends there. I miss knowing a place so well. In a way, I'm like a cat that way. I suppose any territorial animal. Like right now, I'm in a new, unfamiliar place and I'm barely venturing out beyond my little concrete room. Eventually, slowly, I'll explore and continue to widen my sphere of influence, make larger and larger portions of Durham and Bangor my cave. I'd basically turned most of southeastern Wisconsin into my cave. I felt comfortable just about anywhere.
But here, in New England, I have to start all over. I have a little triangle right now. My Dorm»Dining Hall»English Department. I'll soon expand that to include the gym. I don't know anyone here, so I'm looking forward to getting to know (and get drunk with) my cohorts in my program. I did it in Madison, I can do it here.
This is my building. It houses the English department. It's where likely all of my courses the next 24-36 months will be held.
Also, I take terrible ID photos:
I think this post might sound bleak but it's not all that bad. I'm in an incredibly privileged position, I'm in a beautiful part of country, filled with both nature and some of the oldest architecture and the most history (as defined by European invaders) available in America. It's not really that bad. But this move has finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that I could ever be a hermit.
I miss my people too much. Time for new people.