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June 27, 2011 / Angela Sylvia

MFA: Day Four

The morning started with the groaning of trucks outside my window, and the rattling of a jackhammer just down the street. I did not sleep in.

This moved into a seminar titled “In the Smithy of the Soul”, run by author Rachel Kadish. This seminar came with an extensive reading list, of which we only had to read a couple of things each. We looked at authors tackling harsh topics, from rape to death to the slow extinction of animals, and what methods they used to tackle these subjects. Some used directness, some ambiguity, some even interjected a great deal of humor to drive the horrible point home. It was a great seminar, but because we covered so many texts the two hours was not nearly enough to truly look at any one thing. It also left me with a long list of books I now want to read.

After lunch was a quick stop at the res life building to shake our fists about a lack of air conditioning in what we were told was an air conditioned room. They said they’d fix it. (It would seem they did, since the room is cool enough, though I hear no air moving.)

The afternoon was another session of workshops, still not mine. We worked with the last of Jacqueline Davies’s students, a dystopian story and a punk novel. I’d like to think that as I keep going through these workshops I’m getting better at looking at other people’s work more closely, but I’m still just not sure. I hope the comments I give help in some way.

Since there was some free time, I headed over to the Harvard bookstore with a couple ladies. I didn’t mean to pick up anything – really! – and even if I did, I wanted something that would help with my upcoming semester. Instead, I found the first volume of Wandering Son, a manga about a gender-confused boy. I’m very excited to dig into this, but between my busy schedule and that I’ve been advised to read this with a clear head, I may give this a day or two before i really crack it open.

After dinner was another reading, and then the reception hosted by the third semester students. There was a pinata, and wine, and I learned about mixing wine with ginger ale (delicious and dangerous). Many of the writing for young people professors were at this reception, but as usual they were being silly and talking amongst themselves, making me feel far too awkward to walk up and start my own conversation. Ah well. Another day.

Tomorrow we start to hash out our semester plans with our mentors. I believe I meet with Tony Abbott at 10:30, and while I have only a vague idea of what I want to touch upon, I trust him to have figured out at least something that he thinks will help me this semester.

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