Thursday was the first full day of the Conference. In the morning (after I thought I'd broken my toe on my roommate's bed, but went jogging anyway, to discover later that the toe was swollen and purple), we had a craft lecture on The Enigma of the Creative Process, by Ed Hirsch. I love funny poets, and he was hilarious. I especially liked how he telegraphed that a funny line was coming by grinning and almost chuckling as it approached. His basic point was that creation is a balance of hard work and inspiration. I think I knew that, but it was good to be reminded. Next was free time for reading in preparation for workshops (I saw the nurse about my toe to confirm that it wasn't broken); I had no reading because it was my story that was being workshopped that afternoon!
Then we had our first session with Charlie Baxter. It was great and I got some very good suggestions and feedback for my story, from Charlie and the whole group, including our Fellow, Lorraine Adams, whose novel Harbor was published last year by Knopf. I can't wait to do revisions to this story, but it will probably wait until I get home from Bread Loaf.
In the afternoon I went to the readings by Louise Gluck and Francine Prose. I am not a big fan of either of these writers. Gluck read a couple of long poems from her forthcoming book. Prose read from her latest novel. The former was depressing. The latter was funny.
Cocktails at sunset. Wonderful. And then in the evening we had a reading by poet Catherine Barnett (really depressing stuff) and by Lynn Freed, who introduced herself as "The Notorious Lynn Freed," in reference to the Harper's article about which I commented some weeks ago.
I was exhausted after all that and was happy to call it a night. I settled into my room to do some reading, opened a bottle of wine, and was startled to see a mouse staring at me from the floor. Then another mouse peeked out of his corner. We basically played peekaboo for a while until they, and I, lost interest. I'm thinking of naming them, since no doubt they will reappear. Suggestions?