("Serendipitous Biscuit" is totally the name of my next band.)
Anyway. Workshop went shockingly well last night. Half the class was total deadwood--didn't say a word, and looked extremely inconvenienced to be there. And then I read their written critiques and--they like the story. So I have no idea what that's about. It was chapter 2 of the serial (you can read chapters 1-3 online), and I was nervous, and the first half with the ball and all got draggy, and I'm thinking all the guys in the class are going to hate it, blah blah blee blee NERVES! NERVES! NERVES!, and I get to class and my story comes up first, and I feel like I've just been introduced to the firing squad, and--
Holy hell, they like it.
And the really, really weird part is that we only had three manuscripts go last night, so we had extra time, and they spent it interviewing me on my writing process and research techniques. I am serious. I mean, Catherine looks at me with a perfectly straight face and says, "Could you talk a little bit about your writing process? There's a huge level of detail in the story--how do you get that when it's not even finished yet?" And my eyes are darting around the room like, "I am so going to get beat up after class." Seriously, this used to happen to me in grade school. I'm not saying I was a good writer necessarily, but I was pretty precocious in the sense that people would struggle to turn in a two-page story and I'd be sitting there with ten pages. I mean, as early as second grade, I was "that writer girl." And "that writer girl" was usually used as a taunt; the basis of my young identity was usually turned against me. Teachers would say nice things in front of the class about a story or a poem I wrote, and life would be hell for the next two weeks.
But... it was different in this workshop. There are some undergraduates (Catherine's one), but there are also people in their twenties and even twice that, teachers getting their masters' and empty-nesters going back to get a second degree, and... they wanted to know. The professor--a visiting writer--wanted to know, wanted me to talk about it. It was flattering but completely terrifying, because I just knew in my heart of hearts there was some crank in that room thinking, "Who the HELL does she think she IS?" But he never appeared. So they asked me questions and I talked. And Watson tried to get me to tell him what happens in the next part, and I just stonewalled everyone on that, not because I didn't know yet, but because it is a certifiable fact that anything you explain in three sentences is going to sound stupid. So I just said, "You know, the third chapter is online," and everyone else is like, "Ooooooo! She shut you down!"
So, yes... it was a novel experience.
Oh, and Crunk may or may not hate the Larkin packet, but I got it done in about 30 minutes. Awesome. Now I just have to help Sister Girl with her government paper and critique a shitload of poems. If you're interested, here's my poem from last class (not yet revised):
Written on the Body
It is written on the body that you are mine.
Dry inks have long been daubed
in smears of saffron
—there: left, and right—
when I wiped the goldenrod tempera
of spilled pollen
and claimed your collarbone.
The talcum silk of my cheek has imprinted
milky ghosts upon yours.
My eyes have dusted you azure
when you were quiet;
my hands, crimson when you were cold.
I kohled you indigo when angry—
penitent, traced ashes when I was done,
each fingertip’s press a map, spiralling
minute, entire, eternal
on your skin.
The cartography of my prayer is with you.
into that darkness, marked as mine.
I cannot fail to find you.