The Summer Program for Creative Writers has officially begun.
I arrived Friday night. Will chauffeured me down to the Lakeshore to my new digs, which we thought would comfort the kids once they saw me settled in and could picture where I’d be staying.
We got here around 9pm. The kids fought over who got to push the elevator button, and who got to swipe the room key. They shoved each other to get in the door, both wanting to be the first to see the hotel room. Except of course, this is no hotel room. I’m staying in the student residence, which, like any student residence, is no Hilton. No matter, I was excited to have a place all to myself for the first time EVER in my life.
My 11-year-old son walked in, looked around, and announced “Wow, Mum, this place is sort of a dump.”
My 7-year-old daughter sat on the small bed looking distressed. “Is this a jail?” I assured her it was a student dorm, not a jail.
My hubby had said nothing, but looked at me with giant doe eyes. I’m unsure whether they were full of sympathy for me and my not-so-frilly accommodations, or if the reality of the next week had just hit him. Not sure who the sad brown eyes were for – me or him, but I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.
My son was still wandering through the small suite, and stops in the miniature kitchen with the concrete floor. “What are these stains? Ewwww…is it old gum?”
I look at the floor, which indeed is plain concrete and looks like old gum has been diligently scraped off, but left a mass of stains. I convince myself that it was gum, because the alternatives are far grosser than old juicy-fruit.
Lainey’s jumping on the bed, and her arm flails out hard and whacks her brother as he inspects the sheets. He retaliated with a sharp finger flick to her thigh, and all hell breaks loose in the dorm. It was friggin’ Animal House in here.
Lainey asked if she could get a treat for the long ride home. Sugar? Great idea, since I won’t be there. So we all took a stroll down Lakeshore to the 7-11 for supersized slurpees.
Sam, my ever logical and cautious son, looked down every alley. “I think this place is probably filled with robbers and muggers and stuff.”
Lainey, my ever expressive daughter, took a few whiffs along the way and announced, “This place smells just like poo.”
After I said my goodbyes and blew a few kisses, I bolted for the door before anyone could stop me. Then I sat at my wee little desk, in my wee little room, in the Humber student residences. Maybe it’s good that my crazy crew came here to check things out, and formed a pretty harsh judgement of the place, so I’d have to defend my first-ever place of my own. It formed a kinship between me, the concrete walls and the gum stained floors.
Hello, solitary confinement… nice to finally meet you.
Hi again! I had no access to the internet, so although I had great expectations to blog every night, the world of technology had a different idea of my weekend. I wanted to post this update though, because after a completely intense and motivating weekend of lectures with agents, publishers, and writers, I have to let you know, I am LOVING it so far.
The highlight for me was spending this morning with Award Winning Best Selling Author, Wayson Choy. He’s so full of positive energy. Calm, wise, wonderfully encouraging Wayson. It might be possible that he had bursts of light coming from his fingers and toes…I’m not entirely sure. But I do know, that as he taught our class of six students (can you imagine!!!!), he enlightened the intimate table of eager writers, hanging on his every word. He is a brilliant writer, a charismatic teacher, and amazingly, he is so giving of his energy and wisdom. I do believe he does want every single one of us to meet our dreams, and most importantly, become better writers.
My work gets critiqued on Wednesday. Very similar to standing on stage naked. Full frontal naked, with your brain exposed actually. Wayson and the other writers go over their critiques of a partial of my manuscript, while I sit silently. Listening, absorbing, and maybe weeping slightly or wetting my pants. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I am giddy with anticipation…