Week 12: Reflections as Writer-in-Residence

[Week 11 was the tail end of spring break.]
All I can say is that I thought 3rd quarter grades and this next start of 4th quarter weren’t going to make a difference in terms of my schedule—and nothing could have been further from the truth. The first week back after spring break, in many ways, afforded me as much time as my first week teaching as Writer-in-Res. Without papers to grade or as many tutorials during office hours, I had afternoons largely to myself. And with the rhythm of attention and focus I worked up during spring break, I’ve been able to roll my sleeves up for some revision that feels really good.
In addition to revising, I’ve been focusing on contemporary northern Michigan writers. This involves, first and foremost, reading books by my colleagues Michael Delp and Anne-Marie Oomen. It’s impressive to delve into their roots—both in terms of writing style and in terms of regional influence and impact. I’m learning just how much time and effort these two writers have put into their communities. How much they’ve shaped the literary landscape here. How much path carving has been done as a result of their presence here. It’s pretty inspiring.
I’m also rejoicing in the confidence I have in my own process. I know that visiting the sand dunes will pay off in my writer’s life. Sure, it helps me create interesting blog posts for the here-and-now. But based on past experiences, I also know that putting in the time to research and experience the cultural and natural surroundings around me will enrich my writing down the road. Readers may remember the weeks or prep and the weeks of follow up blog posts that followed my Alaska trip in 2009. Six months later, I’ve had my Alaska-based short-short win a prize and become anthologized and published in two publications.
I believe in making the effort to live fully wherever I am. And there’s something about knowing that each stop on this two-year tour is only for a limited amount of time. It ups the ante. It makes each day count. It inspires me to fit it all in. Here’s hoping I can!

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