Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - Poetry Workshop, American University, Paris, Jours 13-18 Part 2
Thursday, 23 August 2012 20:07

I once heard it said that everything one writes within a six-month period is somehow connected to each other. This is proving to be true as I continue on my adventure into a land I was for so long afraid to enter for fear I would ‘catch it’. Like when I was in graduate school studying in a two-year course for my master's in rehabilitation counseling. With each disability we studied, I swore I had some of the symptoms. I may be able to chalk it up to active imagination.

The other women in the workshop were all ages and came from different countries to study with Kathleen Spivack. There were only two of us currently living in the States, as well as Kathleen. One from Copenhagen, a young stand up comic, one from Switzerland, from London, three from France, all writing in English although for some it was their second language.

We spent time together, in class, at lunch, attending lectures including one given by the head of the Iowa MFA program. I just had to ask her what was the top age for attendance. Although she said there were no age restrictions, she felt twenty-four should be the outside age. And the jobs once one graduates, I asked her? One perhaps in teaching, otherwise......

Each afternoon I attended workshops, which included readings by the faculty, one with agents, one of whom I asked if there was a top age for taking a new client. She said there was really not and that it didn't matter in fiction, which of course left me very old and what I felt was out of luck with memoir and poetry. Oh well, I've been down this road before.

I found the experience to be very intense and exhausting, not wanting to go to bed before I finished yet another poem, another draft, more notes, so I averaged 7 hours sleep a night which for me is two hours short of what I need. Oh well, I thought, I'd.treat it like putting the extra hours short on a credit card and once I get home, well I'd catch up.

The final Friday, the 29th, we met in the morning, reviewed new writing. The afternoon was a chance for us students to read our new work. Five minutes is not very long but I was able to read 4 parts of my Santa Fe poem and a new Mother poem.

Then out for a bite and home to pack. The next morning the taxi to take me to the airport would be there at 8am, so another, this time 6 hour night of sleep and time to say goodbye to the City of Light for this year. I will be back and have already reserved my apartment for next June. The one thing I will plan differently is I will leave on the 29th instead of the 30th. No one told me that was the day many Parisians fled Paris for their holidays. There was congestion on the highway, and once at the airport. I did get to my gate ten minutes late but was not the last one on. Thank goodness I made it. Another dash to the finish line and all was well.

Thanks for reading Not Just A Jewish Book Blog.  More from State side next time.