the third residency

Already the third of five has come and gone…

Time’s a goon, right?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010: As usual, the 3:oo general meeting kicks the residency off. At 3:15 we each meet with our class. This is my critical thesis semester–5000 words. (And the reason I’m so b e h i n d with e v e r y t h i n g is I’ve been writing it.) At 4:30, the first lecture: “Story, Image, Idea” from Clint McCown: the story should be told from as far along the action as possible/find the poem in your character’s story/If you want to send a message, use Western Union. Dinner at Positive Pie, then the student reading sign-up, and a faculty reading.

Thursday, December 30, 2010: Staying at Betsy’s Bed and Breakfast this year, which means gloriously delicious pancakes! At 10:00, the third in a series of lectures on “A Fiction Writer’s Vocabulary” from Jess Row: we make it to IRONY. At 1:15, the first workshop with faculty Abby Frucht and Clint McCown.

Friday, New Year’s Eve: my semester review with Dave Jauss at 8:00 am. Ellen Lesser‘s lecture on “Redemption in End-Times America”: “Will we have created something before it all gets swept away? It won’t save the world, but it could be our own sweet chariot.” 1:15 workshops. More lectures and readings. Then an auction and champagne…

Saturday, 1-1-11: Happy New Year! At 10:15, student lecture on exposition, a panel, then another student lecture by Heather Sharfeddin on what happy endings have done to us…more lectures and readings. Our choices of advisors due to the office by 3:00. Advisors posted around 7:00 pm. Connie May Fowler, it is!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011: Connie’s lecture at 8:45 on uncovering the good and evil in all of us. Cool exercise where we each wrote a “good” thing we had done on a white index card and a “bad” thing we had done on a pastel index card. The cards were put in two separate hats. Then we drew one from each hat and wrote about a character who had done both. At 10:00: Advisor Group Meeting. Lectures. 2:15 workshop.

Monday, January 3, 2011: 8:45 panel on publishing. At 1:15, Doug Glover‘s “A History of Western Philosophy in 45 Minutes.” Really. And he almost did it. At 2:30 Joshilyn Jackson talked about various ways to begin a novel. More lectures and readings. My meeting with Connie. Barry Lopez at 7:00 pm.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011: 8:45 workshop. Early-ugh. At 11:15 Rich Farrell’s great lecture on emotion with a close look at Lorrie Moore’s “Dance in America.” At 4:45, Abby Frucht spoke on book reviews. “Join the NBCC!”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011: 8:45: Barry Lopez lecture on authority. Lectures. Readings.

Thursday, Janurary 6, 2011: Informal Talk with author and graduate Lisa Carey. Workshop. Gary Lawrence’s great lecture, “To Link or Not to Link? Is That the Question?” with a focus on Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.

Friday, January 7, 2011: 8:45 Informal Talk with the wonderful poet Lynn Emanuel. I first heard Lynn read in 1999 at the Napa Valley Writer’s Workshop. Then the last workshop. The last lecture. The last reading. Graduation. Celebration. At 5:00, three of us head out of Montpelier in the sleet and snow with our destination Hartford, Connecticut. You know the rest of the story

13 thoughts on “the third residency

  1. Wow, sounds like fun: writing, reading, lectures and pancakes too! It must be nice to have a prolific and noted novelist as your advisor. What was the most useful thing you learned?


  2. I’ve been reading Connie’s novels since 1996 so I’m looking forward to working with her. The most useful thing I learned…hmmm…Well, at the moment, two things stand out: 1) the next time I need to write emotion, I’m going to pull out Lorrie Moore’s “Dance in America,” and 2) if there’s a bear in the closet, I just need to say up front there’s a bear in the closet.


  3. I tried to think of the best and worse thing I’ve ever done and discovered it was the same thing. Bet that was an interesting day. And then Connie May Fowler as advisor! I love her essay in Sonny Brewer’s Don’t Quit Your Day Job. I can’t wait to learn more.


  4. Cynthia, l love reading your posts about the residencies — thanks! It sparks all the good memories of my own time there. Maybe I’ll get back for a visit again. And a big hello to Diane who commented above!


  5. Cynthia, your program sounds so interesting and fun and wonderful. What has been your favorite part so far? And was the publishing panel interesting? Do you feel it is important for these programs to have that? (I do; I think the tendency in the past to focus exclusively on the creative end and ignore the business end doesn’t help, and I am glad to see that you had this.)


  6. Lauren, so sorry that your wonderful comment got lost in my packing and traveling to Washington for AWP.

    It would be difficult to name my favorite part of the program. For starters, I love Vermont, especially real winters. The faculty and the students create a wonderful atmosphere. I learn something from almost every lecture. And then getting feedback each month from a writer on my work–I guess that has to be my favorite part. I’ve just finished my critical thesis, and I learned a ton writing that.

    The publishing panel was good but focused more on poetry than fiction. I do agree that such panels should be included because after all who are writers without readers, and we need publishers in order to have readers. So I agree that publishing is an important topic for MFA programs to consider.


Comments are closed.