CSU Summer Arts: Writing the Memoir Part I
Four writers left for CSU Summer Arts on a Sunday. Bridget Mabunga (she drove), Marie Hoffman, Janna Santoro and myself. On the way to Fresno, we chatted, wondered what the experience would be like– wondered if we would come back changed.
What is Summer Arts ? Was it some hippie extravaganza? Was it a love fest of artists coming together, reclaiming their drunken dorm days? Was it writing? Was it art? Was it collaboration? Was it a freeing of the mind? Was it the place to find ourselves?
Looking back–yes to all those things.
The drive took almost three hours. We stepped out of the car, hauling our luggage–enough for two weeks, and already the Fresno heat was beating on my face, my clothes sticking to me. Registration was a mess. I dragged my luggage up a flight of stairs, only to drag my luggage back down. The stink of my dorm room, coupled with trash everywhere, had me rethinking my choice to come.
I begged for a new dorm assignment, and I was happier with the second. My new roommate was a composer, also from Sacramento. Other artists in the dorm: a graphic artist and a clown. Despite the late night calls to far away boyfriends, I was happy enough with my sleeping arrangements. I slept on my desk, and showered with my flip flops. I ate the dining hall food and got sick once, which I think is pretty good, considering. The air conditioning was loud, but necessary.
Here are some of my favorite memories of Summer Arts:
- Discovering Veni, Vidi, Vici in downtown Fresno
- Listening to Juan and Juani Serrano, flamenco guitarists
- Buying Doug Rice a drink
- Getting to know Roxanne
- Carole Maso giving me her copy of “Break Every Rule”
- Winning a copy of “Beauty is Convulsive”
- Having a one-on-one meeting with Bill Vollmann
- Bill Vollmann’s reading of supernatural erotica–a Weineke love story
- Watching my clown roommate deteriorate
- Hanging out at The Red Wave and discovering my love for vodka and cran
- Sitting under the stars with friends
- Raiding the vending machine with Kylee
- Listening to Gordon’s reading
- Trying to capture this moment at The Red Wave…