Tuesday, September 3, 2013

VCFA Post Graduate Conference And Everything After (Walter Benjamin)

So, I took a trip to the land of mountains and cows.

I haven't really processed my time there yet - but let's just say the experience for me ran the gamut from intense to fascinating to (as usual, for me) somewhat embarrassing.  I'm terrible in groups and always manage to freak out a little and embarrass myself over something.  Plus, regrets.  Didn't go to enough of the talks, didn't work on new stuff, should have spent more time mining the huge brain of Michael Martone (my new favorite writer ever), should not have read the Zombie story (wrong audience) should have read the Mother story (audience of mostly women that day).

bla bla bla.

Mostly good old fashioned self-defeating stuff about my failure as a writer and a person.  Good times.

Perhaps I should force myself to look at the good: Met some amazing people including Michael Martone (my new favorite writer ever) and workshop leader whose brain moves faster than a speeding train* and is larger than all outdoors.  Plus there was Radhika, and Justin and Nathan (who lives close by) and Esther and Jerry - supportive and killer smart workshop participants.  And Amy and Jen and of course, and the best surprise of all - my dear friend Kabi who I didn't even know was attending until I got there.  We haven't spent that kind of time together since our NYC salad days - which is crazy since we get along so incredibly well.  I'm pretty much going to stalk her and go to every conference she signs up for from now on.  The level of accomplishment at the conference was also impressive (although as usual, a bit draining on my self esteem) (oops - self-defeating girl snuck in damn you S-DG!)  And I forced myself to talk to people including several of the famous writers - which is no small feat for me.

And best of all - I came home and wrote hours and hours and have thousands of stories to show...



Today is the first day of school for my youngest, and tomorrow is the first day of school for the eldest, and I feel time opening up before me like a flower filmed in slow mo - And because I suddenly have all this time today (7:30am until I have to leave to teach my class at 2:30pm) I turned on my laptop and went immediately to the interweb and started perusing. 

This is what I found:

I've always had a crush on Walter Benjamin - in grad school I used a quote from Illuminations in almost every paper. 

This tip might be my favorite:
Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

Now that's some advice!  Be governmental about your notebook!  Be like the dark suited, aviator sunglassed, passport and visa checking Immigration dudes - be tough! and implacable.   Yes.

I'm going upstairs to dig out my aviators, put them on, then look in the mirror and give myself a hard stare.