For the past week, my Facebook newsfeed has been a flurry of packing suitcases, road trip photos, last minute loose end knots. It seems we're all trying to cover our foundations, make sure the bills have been paid, the laundry all done, the emails sent, because over the next 9 days there will be no time for the little bits of normal responsibility. School is in session. The residency has started.
People ask me all the time how I manage being in this program while juggling a day job, yoga teaching, music, family, and all the other delicious things that fill up my life. Truthfully, I'm not sure how it all works out. Also, truthfully, it works out because I am committed to it working. And also, my MFA program is a low residency format.
I knew when I started flirting with the idea of going back to school for my MFA in Creative Writing that there was no room in my life for a full-time every-day-on-campus type of academic experience. For the first year or so I took online classes at UCLA Extension, but the deeper I got in my writing process, the more I wanted, well, MORE. I wanted steady classmates who were as committed to their work as I am. I wanted mentors. I wanted the structure of an academic environment. And, because I would like to teach Creative Writing, I wanted the degree.
Antioch's low residency format is set up for people in scenarios like me. From start to degree, it's four semesters, with an optional post-MFA certificate in Pedagogy and/or further professional development. Each semester is comprised of two parts: a ten-day on campus residency intensive followed by a five-month project period in which we work independently on our writing and communicate with our mentors and classmates online.
Today marks the beginning of Residency #2.
I left the house early to beat traffic and to leave some time for blogging before my first seminar begins at 9am on First Pages. Later this afternoon I'll attend a seminar on The Art of Translation, which is part of the work I will be doing throughout this coming project period. The day will end with some exciting readings that I have been looking forward to: colleague and gifted writer Allie Marini Batts --- she's prolific and I have no idea what link to share here, so I'll just give you this short story -- , and guest writer Roxane Gay -- remarkable woman, fabulous writer, and also incredibly prolific.
Abrupt ending here - apologies - as classmates are arriving and hugs and hellos and catchups... I suppose tomorrow I will have to find a quieter blog spot. (Of course I'm loving the hugs and hellos!)