Prepping for Tinker Mountain

I haven’t been this excited to sleep in a dorm room since the summer of 1970 when I left to attend Madison College in Harrisonburg, VA (aka James Madison University). And it’s funny how the prep list is similar: bring your own bed linens, towels, soap, shampoo, etc., and something to carry them to and from the bathroom; bring a desk lamp; and bring money for the laundry. It’s nice to see some things have immutability.

A few things are different: There’s free wi-fi in the dorms, and the course of study lasts just one week.

What I’m talking about is Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. From Monday through Friday next week, I’ll be in craft workshops and one, intense five-day workshop on stretching my fiction, taught by Pinckney Benedict, author of an amazing book entitled Miracle Boy and Other StoriesThere are eight other writers in the class as students, and we’ll each critique the others’ work.

We had to submit 5,000 to 7,000 words of a current work, which both the instructor and the other students will review. The instructor’s comments are one-on-one, so the humiliation factor is low. There is an evening where the students sign-up to do a reading. I’m not so certain about that. It was a lot to push my comfort level by reading at SWAG Writers, but I managed to do that and look forward to it. However, I know most of the people in SWAG, and this will be baring your soul in front of strangers.

Yes, I can be a drama queen.

Still, I’m so looking forward to this adventure that my writer friends are likely sick and tired of hearing about it. I have attended small, one-day or half-day workshops and attended several writing conferences in the past two years, but this is my first intensive workshop where my writing is up on the sacrificial altar. Daunting, yes, but I know I’m coming out of it a better writer.

So, my notebook is ready; the bed linens and towels are ready; the desk lamp is ready; I’m ready. But I have to wait until Sunday. 😦

I’ll try to blog from there periodically, but I think my schedule will be full. And my readers will probably tire of hearing about it, too. Hey, I’m as excited as a college freshman. Indulge me!