Residency Round One: Scene


I’ve just returned from my first Pacific University MFA on-site residency with enough perspective to comment on the scene. More intimate updates on the people and my lessons learned will come later.

Seaside’s beach extends football field deep at low tide, perfect for long “what the hell am I doing here?” walks. The beach hosted the hyped “bonfire” which looked more like a “campfire” to this country girl. Still, we had cold beer, cold wind, and cold people. What more could you ask for?

The weather alternated between wind-driven rain and sunny days that could have passed for Hawaii, sans the hats, gloves, down coats, and smoky breath.

Our one-half day off was perfectly scheduled for a clear blue afternoon.  Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock were delightful distractions and I even scored a birthday present for my sister. (No pictures, Mary. You’ll have to wait until April.)

When you put one hundred and fifty students and faculty in single large room during flu season, you create a perfect petri dish for international germ contributions including Israel and Bejing. My unscientific count showed twenty percent downed by one bug or another but if you told me the actual casualties were forty percent, I’d believe it faster than a squirt from the ubiquitous hand sanitizers. I was thrilled to leave with only a stubborn cough, a holdover from holidays in Chicago.

Many thanks to faculty members Laurie Hendrie for sharing her front-of-the-bus seat and to Mary Helen Stefaniak for the timely Dramamine when the two-hour bus trip to the Portland Airport had me rooting for a personal case of carsickness (or would that be bus sickness?) rather than a late breaking flu attack.

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