Get On With It!
My car swings around the last turn up at the craft school and by total coincidence I spot Viva, Carol, and Marilyn eating a late afternoon lunch on the back porch of one of the rental cabins. I poke my head through the woods to confirm that it’s them, and am waved onward down the path to greet them.
The three of them provide a picture perfect scene: Having worked in the studio most of the morning, they’ve gathered for light meal of rye crackers, goat cheese, smoked trout, capers, onions, and a little dressing. They sip coffee and there is the occasional nibble on a tamari-seaweed rice cake as well.
“There are so many beautiful people here,” Carol says. “I just love it. I mean really, just genuinely beautiful people.”
It is good to see her so centered and calm. It was not so long ago that she frequented the coffeehouse for a consoling late afternoon Cup-a-Joe, I remind her. I tell all three of them what a joy it is to witness them taking such good care of themselves – sunning on a back porch on this cool winter day, eating a light, healthy meal, working their hardest in their respective studios. It is so inspiring!
Then I confess…I am procrastinating and made a trip into town for minimal errands.
“Never try to start with your first sentence,” Marilyn coaches. “You know that.”
I nod, at this point willing to accept anything as gold. I further explain my dilemma: The Naropa application is done and in. The Goucher one was mailed last week. I sent in University of Southern Maine’s a few days ago. And now I am down to the wire: The Vermont College app is due, in the Office of Admissions, by Tuesday, February 1st. I cannot back out of the deal now, because my personal essay, portfolio, and application are complete, not to mention that my professors already sent their letters of recommendation for me. What remains is the dreaded four-page “critical essay,” for which no specific assignment is given.
At this point I have completely psyched myself out. I can get up and read seductive essays and first draft poems in front of an audience of friends and locals. I can see my own 4,000-word essay in a glossy print magazine that goes all over the world (it came in the mail today!). I can get two acceptances in one week, followed by admirably prompt (though meager) payment. Yet I cannot write a critical freaking essay?
All I can say is thank God for caffeine and overnight express mail, because that’s what it’s going to take. Viva kisses me half on the lips and offers a big pat on the back, “Good luck. I want to read it when you’re finished,” she smiles. I roll my eyes and get back in the car to drive home. No pressure, right?