Today is the day I get down to business. Today is the day I make all adjustments and revisions to my manuscript before sending it off to my faculty mentor.
Revisions = arts and crafts. Those things on the floor are orphaned scenes.
This is a task I’ve been putting off, because it horrifies me. The first draft of this novel is not finished. Revising feels like going backwards. I don’t particularly want to read what I wrote in the first chapters. I hate having to put scenes in order when not all the scenes are written yet. I really hate the idea of making cuts to the manuscript this early in the game.
But since this is for a structured academic program, that’s what I’m going to have to do. And let’s face it: my mentor is probably going to want to read a draft with as few misspellings and typos as possible, so I have no choice but to make the manuscript presentable now.
The good thing is this: By the end of the day, I’ll have a very good idea about the shape of the story I’m trying to tell, and all of my scenes will be, roughly, in order.
So let’s do this thing – no Facebook, no Twitter, no email until I am done revising. I may have my husband unplug our router.
Clean manuscript or bust.
This won’t be a long post, nor will it be filled with my usual embarrassing personal revelations. All I have to say here is that not only did the student reading last night go well, but I am in awe of my colleagues from the Fairfield University MFA program.
From the new student, who got up to read his work even though he’s never set foot on Enders, to the poet who riffed on Gertrude Stein like he was performing a guitar solo, to the memoirists who put their most private moments out there for us to see – you all rock. Hard.
Also rockstars? The students who didn’t read but showed up to support us, even though they have jobs, families and lives. And the student rep who organized the whole event, and who chose not to read, even though we would have welcomed a reading from her.
It’s really cool to be a part of this group of people.
Now, before this post gets cloying, I’m going to put an end to it. Just as my colleague Steve Otfinoski put an end to some adorable sacrificial bunnies in his reading last night.
Update: This post is titled “A world class event” because that’s how we were described by the store manager during his in-store announcement. I thought I’d written that into this post but I must have edited it out. Whoops.
This Wednesday brings the fall semester student reading for my MFA program. I’m one of the readers, which is very cool, because I’m going to be trotting out my new novel. Still it’s terrifying, because I never know how I’m going to react when I get to that podium.
As I was explaining to a fellow student over the weekend, it all depends on the space.
I once did a reading with such a loud rushing in my ears that I couldn’t even hear my own voice. I was so relieved to get away from the podium that I left a pile of important papers on it, and only remembered them hours later. But then again, I did a reading this summer and I was fine. Granted, I had a drink in me before I got up to read, but I don’t actually think I needed the drink. That reading was in a smallish crowded room. The first, terrifying reading? That was done from the pulpit of a church.
Wednesday’s reading is being held in a Borders. And while I’ve spent many hours happily shopping in that space, I don’t know how I’ll feel reading there. I guess we will see.