So we've been in Prague for three days now and this is the first chance I've had to access the Internet. I'm at The Globe, one of the only (maybe the only) English-language bookstores in Prague. Yes, I am just the type of person to go to a foreign city and seek-out English-friendly businesses. Sue me.
I've attended one workshop (moderated by Jack Myers for the first half of the month and Roger Weingarten the second) and the other participants, for the most part, are very assertive and serious about their writing. Many are in MFA programs or have just graduated. A couple are undergraduates, and a few more are non-student poets. The program itself is well-organized. Our suitemate at the dorms is a UM MFA grad (circa 2003) who is serving as the TA for Robert Everzs' fiction workshop. He's attended the program in the past and says that the participants are usually older on average, but this year the intake skewed particularly young. Staying in the dorms (as opposed to a nearby hotel, which was the other, more expensive option for accommodations) bears this out. Doug and I are 10 years older than 90% of the other participants. Oh, to be young and drunk in Prague...the 3 AM in-dorm dance parties and the morning-after one-upping reminds me of the good old days back in Missoula. Where have the months gone?
In addition to my workshop, I'm taking a "survival Czech" class to learn the basics of the language. I still don't know how to ask where the bathroom is (beyond doing the pee-pee dance with a supplicant look on my face, which works about half the time), but I have confidence that I will eventually learn this and many other useful phrases.
The local diet is the stuff of my dreams--cold cuts and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And beer. Unfortunately, I sometimes feel as if I'm being stabbed in the intestines after such a meal. And then there are the dreams. On my first night here, I dreamt that my pug went into a violent seizure and shit a live snake. I woke up that morning to the sound of what I think might have been a nightingale. I'm still recovering from the cognitive dissonance.
I've done a little writing and a little journaling. I wake up every morning at around 3:30 and read for an hour before I can go back to sleep. I've just finished Amy Bloom's Away.
So that's it for dispatch #1. Pictures next time. Na shledanou.