Kansas! Day Two

I woke up bright and early with the aim of getting lots of stuff done today. I hung out in the lobby, working on my workshop notes, waiting for someone to go to breakfast with. I ended up waiting for quite a while. But finally there were signs of life and we went to check out the local cafeteria. They were a couple people from the novel workshop, since they actually met in the morning while us short story folks didn’t have to be anywhere till after lunch.

Mrs. E’s, as the place is called, cost $8.50 for breakfast. Which seems steep, but it occurs to me that it’s comparable to eating at Denny’s. Still not what I’d like to do for every meal, but it was all-you-can-eat at least. Tomorrow I think I’ll go on an adventure to find other coffee/breakfast options.

Spent some time this morning finishing up my notes for the workshop. Felt really tired, possibly due to sleep apnea I may or may not suffer from, so I took a midmorning nap. Went to lunch at Mrs. E’s, since that’s the daily tradition for the workshop, and paid a dollar more than I did for breakfast. (I wonder if I just stayed down there and worked on stuff I could just graze for both breakfast and lunch…)

This afternoon we had our first actual day of workshopping. Five stories went on the chopping block. Some people were more harsh than others. Some were more long-winded than others. People caught far more stuff than I did on my read throughs, which leaves me feeling like I need to work harder on my own critiques. I had all my notes typed up on my laptop, but pre-workshop discussion over email indicated that it could be gauche to use a laptop during the workshop. Instead, I tried to make due with notes frantically scribbled on paper and jotted into my iPhone. When three of the other workshoppers had laptops that they were working off of, I went ahead and hauled mine out and worked off of that from there.

The hardest part of the workshop so far has been giving the critiques. Haven’t eleven other people staring at you while you offer your opinions on the short story was pretty awful. It was even worse when I didn’t like the story.

Most of the workshoppers went out for dinner at a place called The Mad Greek. The sun had come out by then and the weather was much better than it had been since I got here. When I first got off the plane, it was only 80 degrees but it was overcast and raining, which made it so humid I felt like I was breathing water. (The friend giving me the ride laughed every time I made an exclamation about how muggy it was. He found it cool and pleasant.) But with the sun out it wasn’t appreciably warmer and it was much less humid so it was nice to be outside for once.

Dinner was fine. I spent more than I really intended to. I think I’ll need to be more frugal for future meals. The highlight of the meal was creme brulee cheesecake for dessert.

Tonight there is talk of watching Galaxy Quest. I’m torn between doing that or staying in my room and finishing prep for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’m on the hot seat, which means I have to only critique four stories. Most of the critiques have been pretty easy. I felt pretty clear about what I liked and didn’t like. But one of the stories… I just can’t think of what to say that’s constructive.

3 thoughts on “Kansas! Day Two

  1. vretallin

    Welcome to Kansas. Our first writers group was very difficult for me. I was shaking when I gave my feedback.

    I hope today went well for you. I will come to the Campbell conference, but not sure what is happening right now. Everything is up in air until after the colonoscopy and things are settled with the doctor about my endometriosis.

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