So, for the last couple of days, I’ve been writing a series of posts about my experience at Odyssey. This post continues where the previous two, which describe Odyssey, my acceptance and my preparations to go, leave off. I highly recommend that you read the first two posts before continuing on with this one.
When I left off, I had finished all of the prep for Odyssey, and, amid a lot of pre-departure nerves, I was ready to go. Although a lot of people fly to Odyssey, I decided to drive down, with my Mom and Grandpa, with all of my possessions loaded into a small trailer. It was a lovely drive, filled with nature-rich scenery and the scent of pine. That was the first thing I noticed about New England… the scent of pine is everywhere. It smells much better, in general, than where I’m from.
Manchester is also a very nice, very woodsy sort of place. The hills that house St. Anselm College, the workshop’s host school, are covered in trees, and you feel like you are much farther out in the country and farther from modern conveniences than you really are. The campus itself is a rolling, green, spacious place, quiet and well-appointed with a cafeteria, bookstore, and apartment-style dormitories. Picture the nicest ivy-covered eastern university you can think of, and you’ve got it.
That year, as some of you may remember, was the year of the severe flooding in New England which had the National Guard sand-bagging and detouring roads all over the area. Because of this, the usual dorms for Odyssey had been water-damaged, so all of the Odyssey students got to stay in two large cape-cod houses across the street which had been converted into dormitories. This was comforting to me, as it added to the homey feel of the place. Over the course of the afternoon, I met this motley crew:http://www.sff.net/odyssey/grads06.html, unpacked my things, and headed out with my mom and grandpa for a farewell screening of Pixar’s Cars. By the time I got back, I was still terrified. I had nightmares all night about Cars, if you can believe it.
I woke up the next day, excited and nervous in equal measures, and headed off to classes with my two roommates, Ellen Denham and Rhiannon Held. We spent most of that day getting to know one another, and going over the structure of the workshop. Every week at Odyssey has a different topic, and covers some aspect of good, professional writing. After being assigned some observational homework to try out in the community near the college, we were dismissed around supper time.
I left the first day of class much more relaxed than I went into it, and thank goodness! Everybody seemed to be just as nervous as me, despite age or experience, and just as happy to make friends, and that, as you probably know, is the greatest comfort anyone can receive in a strange new group far away from home. The other great comfort to me was Odyssey’s zero-tolerance policy on cattiness and general drama instigation. In spite of everyone being very nice in the first place (my Odyssey year was one of the most singularly drama-free groups to that point, and I can honestly say that we were all good friends by the end) it was still nice to hear that the administration wasn’t going to turn a blind eye to anyone’s bull crap, should it arise.
The next day, we started round-table critiquing, which was, for me, one of the most useful points of the workshop. More on that tomorrow, in our exciting conclusion!