>Underway at VCCA

>I got settled in here yesterday and am thrilled to be here. My studio is great, my room is fine, the food is better than I remember (there’s a new chef), the people are, as always, fascinating. I’m part of some turnover as several people are leaving and several new people arriving, including a few I know (from here and elsewhere). So after getting my studio organized and ready to go, I hung out in the residence last night and met a number of folks over wine.

And then this morning I got to work and did what I set out to do for the day: make significant progress on a rough draft of “Story #5” of the new collection. It’s in a voice that will probably put some people off, but for the moment I like it. I also had to make a quick run into town to the post office (I’m glad I brought that little printer because I had to mail off a partial manuscript to an agent) and CVS (batteries for the CD player!). Mid-afternoon I walked through the woods and had to hurry back because while walking (this was the point of the walk) I had an idea for something I needed to do in the story. (Regarding the walk in the woods, see “Ball of Twigs” above.)

After dinner tonight I plan to come back to the studio to map out what I’ll do tomorrow so I should be able to launch right back into it. Oh, and I also roughed out a flash piece for my other project and this morning polished that into a shape I may be able to send out. I’ll let it rest a few days and see how I like it. If I can get a few solid flashes done while I’m here, that will be a bonus.

Aside about my studio: not only did my friend Xujun Eberlein have the same studio when she visited recently (I know this because each studio has a placque on the wall and the occupants write their name and the dates of their stay), but also Ed Schwarzschild was the last to use my studio (he apparently left the day before I arrived). I published a [very favorable] review in Shenandoah last year of his novel Responsible Men. I did meet him at the Virginia Festival of the Book earlier this year, but it would have been fun to talk to him some more.

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