Ron’s right. We are in the middle of the residency. Tonight is “chill night” at the motel and nobody is having any fun (I don’t know why they are laughing and clapping and singing).

The only problem that I can think of for this residency is that, as of today, we have no snow. This is winter residency. What is going on?

It was great to see alums last weekend. And we’ve had some wonderful lectures: Marilyn Nelson talked about persona poems and told us of the “power that comes from the creation of the mask and the creation of the voice for the mask to speak.” And she read to us from some wonderful persona poems, including a piece from Carver, because Quinette Cook happened to have brought a copy to the lecture hall .

Anne Ursu gave us the basic grounding in point of view that we needed to get started in this residency on POV. I was doing common book discussion opposite Laura Ruby so I did not hear her informative and wonderful (I’ve heard frequently) talk that examined POV in greater detail.

Marsha Qualey discussed using the MFA to teach. Marsha Chall and her students went on a field trip through point of view in picture books and I’ve heard from many that it was very informative. We were scheduled opposite each other so I did not hear her talk and can’t give a full report.

Swati Avasti showed us how to keep tension throughout our narrative with a three act structure for a novel.

And today Jane Resh Thomas reminded us that writing is our life, we write to save our lives, and we write to make our living. She talked about writing the truth: “You didn’t come here to write happy little stories about happy little rabbits. Foxes generally come into the story.”

And she ended her talk with a quote from James Baldwin that reminds us all of what we are doing: “For, while the talk of how we suffer, and how we are delightful, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell. It’s the only light we’ve got in the world.”

Hope you out there are all well and standing in some bit of the light. We are thinking of you.