You know how it goes. Move abroad, start making glittering plans for all of the new international trips you’re going to take. After all, Thailand/Russia/Peru were never so close before! Then: Work. Life. School. Life. Work. School. Or in my case: School. School. School.
You wouldn’t think that having class for only 6 hours a week would be very demanding. It’s not, because we’re meant to be writing the rest of the time. There is an old Georgian home open to us to use as our writing center. We’re there at the computers for hours, sipping tea and working on our workshop and anthology submissions.
In the writing center, it goes like this:
- Insert flash drive
- Read book reviews in The Guardian, NYT, and the Irish Times
- What’s the right adjective?
- Wait. Too many adjectives are a sign of a weak writer.
- What’s the right verb?
- More tea. Lunch – soup from Insomnia or a piece of foccaccia from Carluccio’s?
- How do I solve this narrative problem?
- Oh my god – is this story I’ve been working on for years actually just a retelling of A Christmas Carol?
- Everything I write is childish drivel
- Actually, this part might be all right.
- I didn’t mean to insert a symbol there, but somehow, one appeared. It works.
- I don’t like the way this sounds – delete.
- Are you really deleting that whole paragraph?
- I’m not, just moving it over … here.
- Remove flash drive
- Wait – did I save?
In the workshops, it goes like this:
- ego inflates
- ego deflates.
That’s what it’s like getting your master’s in Creative Writing.
Anyway, last weekend I finally got a chance to make a weekend trip to the Continent. Two wet, gray days in Berlin, that left me hankering for more – more days, more photo-worthy sunshine, more schnitzel, more time spent hunting down landmarks that reminded me of Cabaret. Just more impetus to return.
There was a train station that looked like this:
Trash cans that looked like this:
A dinner that looked like this:
A snack that looked like this:
(that’s currywurst – sausage slathered in ketchup and curry powder).
Street signs that looked like this:
A commemorative checkpoint that looked like this:
Two days, a two hour flight, and we’re back to tea and writing.