The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Back in Iowa (Good Luck Finding Time to Work)

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So you went back to University of Iowa and took a poetry workshop.  Good for you.  It’s a great time to work on your writing, no?  And not just the poetry.  Because you have tons of other stuff to work on, don’t you?  You brought it with you.  And since the workshop only meets on Mondays, you’ll have plenty of time to get stuff done, right?  You’ve got seven weeks, right?

Right.

Wrong.  Here’s why:

1.  You’re sitting on the front porch Saturday afternoon actually doing some work when from somewhere behind the house you hear bluegrass music.  You go investigate and find out George’s Buffet is having it’s 75th anniversary.  The place is an institution in Iowa City.  And it’s not just the bluegrass band…  there’s two blues bands that follow.  Kiss the rest of the afternoon goodbye, and the evening.  But the music was good.

2.  Yoga.  Got stay limber to work off physical stresses, focus your mind, and rehab that Achilles injury, don’t you?  Of course you do.  There goes a few hours each week.

3.  World Cup is on, and damn if it isn’t great.  Even when the USA isn’t playing, there’s always something good to watch.  And when the USA is playing, fuggedaboutit!  American Outlaws are in Iowa City, and they have pub space reserved.  There goes a few more hours from game time alone.  But you didn’t just watch the games, did you?  You had to take advantage of the drink specials.  Goodbye to the few hours subsequent to the games when you feel too sleepy to do much.

4.  The Eleventh Hour.  Damned if those daily lectures haven’t been interesting each day.  Always something new to think about, discuss, or learn.  Goodbye five hours per week.

5.  Regular exercise.  The bike.  A run.  Weights.  The Elliptical.  Gym fees are part of your tuition.  Might as well get your money’s worth.

6.  Hungry?  Go shopping and fix your own meals.  Ain’t no dining service here.  Oh, and you thought it would be fun to bring your grill so you can cookout in the back yard.  There’s a few more hours gone per week.

7.  You had never heard of The Machine Stops.  But now you’ve read the novella (one hour) and decided it would be a good idea to go see the preview of Act 1 of the opera based upon said piece.  When is the next time you’re going to see an opera based on a highly influential science fiction story from a very unexpected source, much less the rough draft of one, for free, merely a five minute walk from your house?  That’s right.   Don’t miss that, even if it is an hour out of your night.

8.  It’s a college town, so somebody has to have established an alternative cinema.  They damn well did, and they have a grindhouse feature on Wednesday nights.  You’d never heard of Blood Feast, but now you’ve seen it.  Damn right you saw the ridiculous piece of crap, and you loved 135 minutes of the experience (walking over there, previews, walking home…).

9.  Beethoven is cool.  Tolstoy is cool.  When they operate in tandem with The Kreutzer Sonata and the free preview interests you enough, you walk down the street and see the full interaction of the two pieces at the Englert Theatre.  For free.  There goes a few more hours.

10.  Writing from your workshop cohorts.  They, too, have writing that needs to be reviewed.  You wouldn’t dare be that snobby or irresponsible workshop member who doesn’t put any effort into anybody else’s work, so you’re making every effort to work on their poems.  Even if some of them are well nigh inaccessible or far too early in the drafting process to be workshopped.  Kiss those hours goodbye.

11.  You can almost see Prairie Lights bookstore from your front window.  They have an acclaimed reading series.  You haven’t been to any of them yet, but you already know which ones you will attend.  Goodbye, future hours.

12.  That laundry isn’t going to do itself.  So you tool over to Laundromania and feed quarters into the washers and dryers.  Not time wasted, per se, but you could have done without the Romania dude yakking too loud into his bluetooth for well over an hour.  It would have been more distracting if you could have understood him, but at least you got deeper into A Prayer for Owen Meany, which has taken up several more hours this week.

photo (1)

Get it?

13.  Go ahead and go to brunch with your workshop cohorts.  Not only will it be good to get out of the house for a bite, but you should be making some effort to get to know those folks.  Goodbye 2 hours Sunday morning.

14.  You have a poem due Monday morning each week.  You’re not going to recycle old stuff and throw it in, are you?  Probably not.  So you’ll need to work on drafting a new poem each week.  That is never a short process.  If it is, you should probably reconsider writing poetry or much of anything.

To be continued (time permitting)…

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Written by seeker70

June 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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