On Saturday, I returned from a six day workshop at my favorite alma mater, Kenyon College.
The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop was soul feeding, intellectually stimulating, and socially amazing. I had a wonderful time, and learned more in six days than I have in one year of trying to teach myself how to write. I never took a creative writing class while at Kenyon - as a language major who supplemented with photography and music lessons, I was basically locked out of anything else but requirements.
Of course, I stopped playing the violin years ago, and my photography skills are mainly used on the dog. And all that French really helps out when watching Inglourious Basterds.
Anyway, about the Workshop. I would strongly urge anyone considering a career in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, to do the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. I want to go back every year. The food was interesting, though.
You see, at the same time that 100 adult writers descended on Gambier, Ohio, there was also a swimming camp for eight year olds, and a tennis camp for pre-teens. Trying to feed this rag-tag group of hopefuls had to be a nightmare, and it looked like it. Meals consisted of hot dogs, salads, vegetarian dishes, international dishes that were really just the vegetarian dishes with chicken on them, and dessert.
With seven years of vegetarianism in my back pocket, I stuck to the tiny vegetarian portions, supplemented with spoonfuls of corn and peas. I went out for lunch at the two restaurants in Gambier, whose portions were similarly tiny. Columbus, Ohio gluttony this was not. I haven't been able to finish a meal since coming home. There are so many containers of unfinished food in the fridge, I fear for my safety.
I've always had an odd relationship with food. At 38, I feel it's more fuel than fun - I only eat so that I can walk to get coffee, or do anything. The fact that I am forced to shove stuff in my face so that I can write or watch TV without having a temper tantrum is a serious inconvenience. Six years ago, when my acupuncturist said that I had to stop eating every delicious thing ever, I didn't mind. So what if I can't have red meat, sugar, anything spicy, or cinnamon ever again. I'll make do, and have.
Couple this with all the foods I patently don't like, and it makes going out to eat a hunter/gatherer quest to find the sole item on the menu that I can shove in my face. But I make do. So let's go to a steakhouse, let's go out for sushi, I'm not going to be the roadblock for someone else's delicious experience. I am the outlier, so making everyone cater to me is super bitchy.
So I made do at Kenyon. I ate the vegetarian food when everything else looked awful. Tofu hates me, so I hate tofu. When that was the option, I went for the "international" food. (AKA: Vegetarian Meal With Chicken On It) Food is delicious, don't get me wrong, but it's the social experience of meals I prefer over the tasty experience.
I would eat granola bars for dinner every day if my husband wasn't such an excellent cook.
I'm probably admitting that there's something about me that the cavemen would have left behind in a cave to die, but they have plenty of other reasons to have done that, so I'm not sweating my prehistoric self.
Besides, I hear mammoth is all red meat.