First day of classes all day, from 9:00 to 5:00, with a short break to wander around under gray skies. Tomorrow, Sunday, Monday will be similar, but then the schedule lightens up a bit.
In the morning seminar, the professor emphasized that the difference between Creative Nonfiction and journalism/ reporting lies in the revision of one's work. You start by writing something -- observations, memory, or the like --- and then interrogate you wrote -- "Why are you there? What don't I know about you? What do you mean?" With that, the surface of the factoid or reported event becomes riddled with insights, and then transforms as you re-write and rewrite, into a narrative worthy of Lewis Carroll or John McPhee, or anything in between. That's the idea at least.
That's what I learned today, along with how to use the university computer software, how many different forms must be completed at every turn (the school believes in evaluations, large and small), and how the writing workshops will function. I had lunch with my "buddy," Stanzi Frei, who's a year ahead of me and a fascinating person.
By 5:00, we were all waiting for a pizza dinner welcoming us to campus. I stood in the narrow hall with the chatter of dozens of writers, young and old echoing around me, just enough energy left to observe how different this was from a gathering of lawyers and judges -- in dress, mix of ethnicities, variety of languages (a few people were speaking Spanish), and topics of discussion.
The pizza showed up by 5:30, but the line was still very long, and I opted to walk to Sprouts Farmers Market (a mid-range Whole Foods knock-off on the way back to the hotel) for dinner from the freezer to fix in the hotel room. Jim's in Seattle to see Regina graduate tomorrow, so I'm on my own.