Nicole
The title refers to the spider who was crawling on my wall a while ago and then somehow made the leap from wall to my computer desk. I think he might be the same one I found under my speaker a few weeks ago when I was trying to find where the hell the ant on my desk had gone. It was like a like action version of the I Spy books. Anyway, he's back by his speaker again (if it is indeed the same spider), and I'm pretty sure he was weaving a little invisible web around it...now he's just waiting between the lamp and the speaker like that's the entrance to the Hot Gates and he's got to defend Sparta or something. ...That would be awesome though, wouldn't it? All of a sudden a little spider leg goes up into the air and I hear a tinny, "This is SPARTA!" and the spider tackles a horde of ants that suddenly come his way...except then I'd be thinking "WTF? Where the hell did all these ants come from?" and I'd have to go get Mari's Ant Annihilation Care Package and that might mean killing the spider in the process and I don't really mind his being there, even though he's not going to get any food whatsoever...

Oook, now that I've skimmed through my own blog to find out what I've rambled about and what I haven't, I realized I've sort of missed mentioning my grad school thing. Sort of? Completely, more like.

Out of the 5 places I applied to here in PA, 4 said yes and 1 said no. (1 of those 4 took their sweet time in telling me too, geez). Slippery Rock University only had English, so they were basically my last place if all else fails. Rosemont College looked really nice and I actually intended to go there, but since they were the ones who didn't tell me until it was way too late (try late May) it was a no go. Then there was Wilkes University and Seton Hill University. Wilkes is probably a little more like ISU in its location and all that jazz, while Seton Hill would be more like Edwardsville - quiet, secluded, but still near a little town. It was a hard decision. I took as much time as I could trying to figure out where to go. It was even more difficult because both of them were basically the same - residencies followed by writing periods in which communication was all done online. I didn't even truly realize this until late (like the idiot I am). Basically, you would go to the university for several days and go all writer-hardcore during those days, then go home and work on your thesis project - aka novel.

I finally decided on Seton Hill. Probably a bit of a ballsy move considering the official title of the program is a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction as opposed to Masters in Creative Writing. The less ambiguous label is bound to get me when seeking out possible creative writing jobs teaching at community colleges and whatnot. I acknowledge my stupidity and/or guts. Hey, this is the girl who majored in English and minored in Japanese. Equally semi-useless in a world like this. But hey, I figured if I was going to write fantasy and science fiction novels I might as well immerse myself in the genre and be surrounded by people who are doing the same thing. Wilkes would have supported that, as my contact there informed me, but I've been around non-genre types for too long and I'm tired of feeling awkward.

Not that I didn't feel awkward at Seton Hill. I know, that doesn't make sense, but I'll get to that in just a second. I'm actually back from the residency now - it was June 19th to well, yesterday. I had to drive on many shitty roads chock full of crazy drivers and WAY too many road signs that switch MPH on you within a few miles and warning you of agressive drivers and to keep your eyes open and to understand that cops lurk everywhere and put your seatbelt on and hang up your cell phone and keep your eyes on the road and do not pass and stay in your lane and don't try to change your pants or do your makeup while driving. I wouldn't really be too surprised if I ever came upon signs like those last two in the future. And I agree with whoever said it at the residency - PA is where the US stores all its road cones and such. Plenty of construction - just not anything active. A lot of concrete walls and cones and barrels everywhere with no one doing anything. The lameness abounds.

As for the residency, the teaching modules (as they're called - we learn about various ideas and techniques to use; I now have a sweet little erotic dictionary, hey, I took the "Writing the Love Scene" one, what do you expect?) are awesome, all the teachers having been published and they're all animated and excited when they teach. It's been a while since I've seen teachers this into what they do. It's impressive. Still, even being surrounded by fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, romance, and other various genre writers, I felt a bit weird. I've been around regular (as I guess I might call most of you) people all my life so suddenly being around other people excitedly chatting on about their characters and how they got away from them and went on to do their own thing and who is doing what in the book, etc. etc. was strange. The closest I can say I've been to experiencing something similiar was when I hung out with my Japanese class. Even with them I could only hang out for so long before feeling out of place. Like part of me fit right in, but the rest, not so much. I'm weird like that. Like a key in a house with a lot of doors but I just don't fit in anywhere. I think it goes back to that lone wolf complex I developed a while ago. Too many years of moving have molded me into something altogether different and I quit being a leader in many terms of the word and went off to do my own thing instead of hanging with the group.

It kind of sucks in some ways because other newbies (as we were all called) were excited and seemed to fall right into place. I oftentimes just felt sort of...there. Of course I'd participate and I enjoyed all the classes and chit-chatting with people when I actually had something to say, but other times when we were all just hanging out in the lounge (signed up to live in one of the dorms for the week instead of spending more money on a hotel) I'd feel like a bump on a log. (Then there was the annoying high school drama that did not help, but that's a whole other story you'd have to ask me about, but at least that worked itself out well). Observing everything and cut off from it. Several people from residencies past had already formed a little bond and a had their cute group, and several newbies found each other and formed their new little group, but I didn't feel like I'd found even any one person I could connect to on a stronger level, not like Jane or Katie or Sandra.

Now, that's not to say no one was nice to me or I was a total hermit or I was awkward 24/7. I hid the awkwardness as much as possible and did what I could to fit right on in. Of course, saying that means I was a bit like that one puzzle piece that almost fits, but damn it all if it isn't the right one. And again, some of that was due to me not knowing what to do in the face of the high school drama. But I was invited to go along to places, dinner, whatnot, and it wasn't until Saturday night that I felt at my best and most comfortable. I didn't go to bed until 3:30am, a stark contrast to the 10:30pm bedtime (a record for me, by the way) on the 19th, first day I got there (though much of that was just me being freaking tired).

It was all good, though I do have to admit the lone wolf in me reared its head at the end of the residency yesterday. Graduation was nice, but immediately after that, I pulled my disappearing act (something I know a few of you remember me doing in college...and probably high school too from time to time). I slipped off and went straight to my car, pulled it up to the dorm and hauled my stuff out, planning to leave right after dropping off my key. Of course, that took more time and effort than I wanted - I was practically going to give myself a heart attack with how antsy I was to leave. I mean, I wanted to GO. I was taking stairs two at a time and never bothered with the elevator even when hauling luggage around (I was only on the second floor anyway). I like to leave and arrive without a lot of fanfare - any fanfare at all if possible. I've put have my crap into my dorm room at ISU while trying to be incognito before - all hat and sunglasses and boots (but I think Bill still noticed me so I apparently suck at basic disguises). So naturally I left without saying goodbye. Very rude, I know, but it's what I do. The way I am. I can only run with a pack for so long before leaving to run in the mountains on my own again. Semi ironic in some ways because I remember getting named the most sociable newbie at the start of the residency. Well, I did try. I made a point to attempt to be social - I wasn't just going to sit in my room and do nothing. I wanted to do everything. Kind of reminds me of my freshman year in college - I kept my door wide open so people could mosey on in and say hi. No one did. I was disappointed. It's the moving over the years. Gets tiring making friends when you're going to move in a few years. I still did, but I still retain that sense of "Why bother when the time is so short?" Heh. Makes me sound like a not-so-ideal candidate for the program when everyone kept talking about the friendships and camaraderie.

So some of you may be wondering - where do all these people come from? PA? Haha - no. To my amazement, people were coming from California, Florida, Oregon, New York, Illinois, and everywhere in between. That's something I found crazy and impressive at the same time. Here I was thinking it was a big thing for me to be moving to Pennsylvania and people are hopping on planes and getting 4 hours outside of their time zone to come here and write. Yowza.

Well, today is the day I start writing. I even have it on my list o'stuff to do here. I wrote it up last night and it says "WRITE U BITCH!" on it because I have to yell at myself sometimes to get going.

Ok, this blog is long enough. Time to eat, chill, and maybe take a nice hot bath just to relax. There's a whole list of stuff to do dad wrote up that kind of pisses me off becuase it means no one did anything while I was away. It's like things are incapable of getting done around here when I'm not present. But whatever, I get near-free room and board so I guess that's my penance for staying at home. Ciao!



I'm very jealous of my sister - she got a pony and I've only wanted one since forever... XD


P.S. That spider is still there...
2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hmm, drama in Grad School... shocking. ;)

    Anthony


  2. Will Says:

    Hey Nicole,

    No worries on the awkwardness, everyone is awkward when they get there the first resiedency. You could ask anyone there, I was more outgoing that week than my last two combined and multiplied by itself. It hard to really get anything started that first week because you are thrown into everything and then they kick you out for 6 months where you talk to only your crit partners and mentor unless you are going through blogs and IMing everyone you can get screen names for. I'm like you, new people and new places make me stay in the back until I'm comfortable. That and it doesn't help that I can't start a conversation if my life depended on it. I'm a reactionary conversationalist. I come in the middle of the dialouge and and upset the applecart and watch as my chaos comes to fruition, Mwahaha!!! The only reason really that I hung around the people I did so much was that Chris, Sara, and Kate all came in with me, Chris was my roomate our first res, Kate and Sara were the first people I met when I came to the program, and Sabrina and Adrienne were my crit partners my first term. Everyone else are some how connected through them. It's actually kinda odd that you will probably build more of your friendships away from us, then when you are at the residencies, Haha.

    And the drama...-_- it always happens, unfortunately. Usually on the last night or the night before, like clockwork. Maybe you and I sit back next time and do a director's commentary when it happens.