Cognitive Load (Clarion West Week #1)

I decided this morning that my super power is insomnia and that it’s a good power because otherwise I am going to go insane. I didn’t sleep well the night before I got here and I’ve been here 8 nights and the best night I got was 7 hours — still waking up twice. One night I got 6. Otherwise it’s 4 or less and I am an 8-9 hour a night kind of girl.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until 1am. On purpose! 3:30a I was still curled up in the dark wondering why my body has turned on me in this way. Then I woke up at 7a.

I’m not sure what’s going on. I figured it was being in a new place and the noise and and the constant stimulation but last night I was so tired I couldn’t see straight so I suspect I am broken OR I have a new super power.

But everything this week has been filtered through this crushing tiredness and I’ll admit to a couple of meltdowns (in private) that I’m sure had more to do with lack of sleep than anything else.

State Park Truck and Tacoma Dome

On the drive up I got behind this ancient hunk of junk that I figured was filled with hippies and garden-burgers and turns out it’s an official state vehicle for parks and rec. See the Tacoma Dome in the background? I should add that I have the cheapo camera and no Photoshop on this machine so my photos are lamer than usual.

The whole sleep issue aside, everything is great and I am in love with all of my classmates. They’re total brainiacs—I have no idea what they’re talking about half the time but it’s like this endless conversation that you’d never have in your regular life that involves vampire pirates and inter-species romance and zombie godzillas on space ships and it’s really fabulous.

Our instructor this week was Paul Park and I’ve been going through my notes and I don’t think I’ll get too into what we learned because it’ll just end up sounding like regurgitated writing book and it was way more than that. But what I will say is that the approach was to break things down and talk about the bits that make up a story e.g. characterization and setting.

University of WashingtonTalking about my submission story and taking a look at it now, I can see how I made a lot of decisions randomly rather than having a purpose to my choices.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the information and how would I ever remember to apply these things in writing stories.
But like everything in life, I started to think of it like yoga. How many classes I took and books I read and heard about little precisions in practice like extend down through the outer edge of your back foot in triangle pose and for years I had no idea what that meant or how that would even be possible, but I set my intention to do this and then one day I got it and now I do this without even thinking about it.

Here are a couple of Paul Park quotes:

“The characters are always right.”

“Epiphany really bites as a strategy because when do these things really happen?”

RE: the lesson in Romeo and Juliet “Don’t be in such a hurry, especially if you’re a moron.”

Room with a View

This is the window where I look out from my desk.

From my desk I can see the gate at the back of the house and the parking area and a huge stretch of the back alley so I can watch everyone come and go and the fraternity people, many in impossibly nice cars, and the tiny Asian man and woman who come through the alley in the morning and get the aluminum cans from the trash bins. They had quite a haul this morning.

I’m jumping around here. I’ve done yoga workshops with Bob and Ki in Portland and I was thrilled to find that their yoga center is a 10 minute walk from here. I went to a class last weekend and it was exactly what I needed and I even bought a class card and plan to go back. It’s a traditional Hatha based class and very much like the style from my first teacher, Holiday.

Meanwhile, I found 8 Limbs Yoga online and wanted to try that as well in the hopes of keeping in shape for my home class. I was my usual half-wit self and somehow got the impression I could walk there from here and then set out on what quickly became an epic hike that involved giant hills. When I saw the time I thought I might not make it so I started running uphill until I finally clued in that only a idiot would try to walk to this yoga class from where I’m staying.

During this adventure I passed another yoga studio so I went back down the hill and checked the schedule and a class was just starting and it was a style I was familiar with so I achieved my goal of getting more exercise and I got my yoga.

View from My Room

This is the view from my other window.

I bet people in Arizona are laughing right now because there is a “severe weather” warning this weekend because it is supposed to hit 90 degrees here. Yeah, yeah, I know it is severely hot for up here. I might have to go sleep (or lie awake) in the scary basement if it’s too gnarly in my room.

I’ve got a story to write this weekend. I’d like to get a first draft done today so I can watch the soccer game tomorrow (Germany v. Spain – I can’t wait) guilt-free. Today is our only day without any activities. Already tomorrow we start with a new instructor. It’s strange but not a bad strange — but this is such a different rhythm of life — class, writing, hanging out talking about aliens. I like it but I wish I could sleep.

This entry was posted in Clarion West. Bookmark the permalink.