Saturday, June 13, 2009

Odyssey: Week #1

This is both a blog post about Odyssey and an experiment to see whether I can post to Blogger via e-mail... let experiment commence!

Odyssey is wonderful.  Every day I am required to be up and in class by 9 am.  This is a gargantuan task for me, considering that my normal habits are that of a night owl, but I have managed so far.  We have class from 9 am-1 pm; the first part of the class is when Jeanne Cavelos lectures on the topic of the week, and the second part of class involves lengthy critique circles, which are at the heart of the workshop.  We do two crits a day on Tuesday-Thursday, and then three crits on Friday and Monday.

This, quite obviously, makes for a lot of work.  I have spent the majority of my time here reading other people's stories, making detailed line edits, and writing out my critiques.  Given the fact that my crits tend to be ~1000, give or take some depending on the story, I've estimated that I've written ~9000 words of critique this week.  And more next week!

It is exhausting.  I kept trying to get at least seven hours of sleep a day, even if it was spread out over two naps, but then I would wake up and feel like I hadn't rested at all.  And then my back started hurting, and I put two and two together, and realized that the mattresses here are utter crap (typical of college mattreses).  So I caved in and paid lots of money for a memory foam topper, which came yesterday, and is like heaven.  I think I slept ten hours last night.  Absolute heaven. =)

Let's see, what else.  They discourage blogging at Odyssey, partially due to the time-sink given the fact that you need to write AND do crits, but also because there are certain things that shouldn't be told to others.  So you'll never hear about my reactions to the critiques of my own stories, or what i think about other people's work.  You'll also never hear about my other Odyssey classmates (there are 16 of us total), unless they give me specific permission to talk about them.  Suffice it to say that all sixteen seem like genuinely awesome people, I love my roommates, and everyone here can WRITE.  It's humbling and happy at the same time, to be among people who can kick my butt at writing.

Back to the (mostly) non-personal stuff, I guess!

My first story is up for critique on Monday and is titled "Appeasing the Glacier".  I'm currently working on my second story, which doesn't have a title, but involves a character named Susan and a library drop-box.  That story is due by 7:30 am on Monday, and is going to be mailed to Patricia Bray for a private critique in two weeks.  We get a combination of in-class and private crits, with both the writer-in-residence (Carrie Vaughn this year!), Jeanne herself, and our lecturer guests. 

This week's lecturer guest was Jack Ketchum, who I found to be as charming as I remembered him, and who gave us a wonderful lecture on how to create a powerful opening.  We had to read two stories by Jack before he came, "Luck" and "Returns".  "Luck" is something of a Western, which I liked, but "Returns" made me bawl like a baby.  It's a short piece about a man who comes back from the dead to see his cat Zoey, and terrible things happen to the Zoey in the story--and by the end, I was hysterical, for obvious reasons because MY cat is Zoe.  I ended up calling Chris up at 2 in the morning and insisting that he tell me that Zoe was ok... he was somewhat disgruntled. =)  Zoe was fine.  We've been webchatting through Skype, so that I can see her every couple of days.

[brief pause in this blog post, as I made egg salad for myself and my roommates, and now I'm at the kitchen table, finishing this]

Next week's lecturer guest is Melissa Scott and after that is Patricia Bray.  And now I'm off to change out of pjs and write my story... more blog posts later! =)

No comments: