I woke up without an alarm for the second day running just birdsong and a quietude that is precious because I know it is limited. When I first mulled staying in a dorm, I worried about the common showers. Today, I had it down pat. First one in, a quick shower reminiscent of my childhood replete with clothes hung over the shower door and ready within an hour of waking up.
Each meal is an exercise in meeting and making new friends. The workshop today was intense and the instructor impressed me with how incisively he gets to the core of what each story is about. It is always the mark of a great session when you realize you are running out of time and there is so much left unsaid. Reading and analyzing all of my peer’s pieces tells me how flawed mine is. The amount of work that goes behind each piece that gets published is overwhelming.
In the afternoon we had craft sessions. The first one was by Sophfronia Scott who taught us how to use conflict at sentence level using ‘but sentences’. She was accessible and engaging, leading the class in an exercise that made us think about how we could do what she was suggesting.
The next session featured Michael Cunningham. He was utterly delightful engaging us from the word go. As a class, we fleshed out characters and literally outlined a story in an hour. Then he met with each of us as we lined up to get his book autographed and stood for pictures with a smile. He was warm and down to earth.
The night ended with him reading from an as yet unpublished novel and answering a ton of questions. I walked back with a new friend feeling a sense of contentment that being amongst people you connect with brings. The kinship, the energy, the joys of being unfettered by anything all is unparalleled.
Here is a huge shout out to my Amma and Saathi for being the wind beneath my wings.