Friday, January 25, 2013

MFA in Whale Flying

I'm not normally one to tell you about my dreams (that's Tiffany).

I'm also not normally one to blame you for the mean/scummy/abusive things you do in my dreams, but I'll save that passive aggression for another day, Tiffany.

Two nights ago, I had what I call a "Tampa dream." A dream is specifically a Tampa dream so long as it adheres to the basic premise of seeing me, the protagonist, attending the residency period of my low-residency MFA program. I frequently experience such dreams in the nights leading up to the residency, as well as during the nights of the actual residency. A dream about what happens earlier in the day is trippy (and it's exhausting if you've been drinking most of the day), but a dream about flying whales will always take the trippy cake (mmm, trippy cake).

Rather than attending seminars focusing on elements of craft in creative fiction, or gritting my teeth through disheartening Q&A sessions regarding the nuts and bolts of the publishing world, I was mostly just attending workshop sessions. For many, the workshop sessions were the highlight of their real-life residency experience. For absolutely no one except for me, in my dream, the workshops consisted of tying rafts to whales and flying above the Hillsborough River. Instead of focusing on word choice and narrative voice, each workshop group was focused on which rope was strongest and yet also good for handling. During dinner hours, my fellow hot-shot whale flyers and I would discuss the distinct attitudes and philosophies of our respective whale flying mentors. Tony D'Souza flew a sperm whale as passionately and as beautifully as Mikhail Iossel handled his killer whale counterpart. Yes, that's right, we dabbled in multiple whale genres.

My dream existed as a self-contained metaphor, albeit a sad and clumsy one. It was sad because it's just as easy to explain to most people what I do in real life, and clumsy, because, as I'm sure my workshop group would be the first to tell you, it condescends to the average reader.

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