Digital Places of Interest

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Post #1: Front Desk Mavenhood

It's summertime, folks, which means the trees are green, the sky is blue, and the clothes are skimpy. It's also that time of year when the Bread Loaf School of English is in session. Bread Loaf means so much to me, that it's hard to put into words without resorting to trite language. Bread Loaf: a magical place where I come to get in touch with my inner Upper Middle Class Hippie. Bread Loaf: where I'm not mocked for wearing my Madras shorts, even though I should be. Bread Loaf: where it's okay to admit you were an English Major. On purpose.
English Major 

Many of you know I attended Bread Loaf for three consecutive summers, from 2004-2006. Every summer I would return to my friends and families telling of a strange little school populated by a couple hundred English teachers going to classes in a barn and living in canary yellow houses. I came back with tales of respectable teachers frolicking in the woods drunk on the delights of friendship, as well as the delights of copious amounts of alcohol. 

Week 1 Typical Bread Loafer 

Week 2 Typical Bread Loafer 

Week 3 Typical Bread Loafer 

Alas, I'm no longer a student but I have returned to Bread Loaf for the summer of 2012, this time as a member of the famed Front Desk. We like to refer to ourselves as the "Front Desk Mavens. "

Maven Side of the Front Desk
Student Side of the Front Desk

I must say: being a Front Desk Maven is pretty darn cool, but with darn coolness comes darn responsibility. Front Desk Mavens, for instance, are expected to play a number of vital roles at Bread Loaf: concierge, postal worker, courier, chauffeur, ambulance driver, nurse, and psychiatrist. It's quite a load, physically and mentally. In fact, I'll just go ahead and mention that I'm not even sure there is 100% legality, with regards to those last three roles mentioned.  

Gene, Fellow Maven 

It'll All Be Better Soon.

The job, however, is not nearly as stressful as it may appear. For long stretches "work" consists mainly of listening to the long-time veterans of the Front Desk tell stories about the good ol' days, especially stories about the infamous Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. (If you salivate over names like "Toni Morrison" and "Tim O'Brien," and "John Irving," click on the link.) 
Ms. Morrison, before the Writers' Conference

Basically, though, the School of English finishes up in early August and the students leave, and then for two weeks the campus is overrun with a clutch (a gaggle?) of super famous poets and novelists who engage in literary activities like workshopping their manuscripts and getting trashed and screwing in the bushes. The Front Desk Mavens work both the School of English AND the Writers' Conference so they get to be privy to all the scandalous behavior and juicy gossip. To hear all the stories is pretty awesome if you're an English Major Literature Nerd and/or literary fame whore like myself.

Ms. Morrison, after the Writers' Conference 
My point is, there's downtime. Lots of it. So I decided to rectify something. You see, in all those years I was a student I never once brought back a single photograph. Mostly because I never took a single photograph. Mostly because I never owned a camera. In years that I've been gone from the mountain, I've matured. By "matured," I mean I spent money I didn't have on expensive Apple products like the iPhone and the Macbook Pro. So now I can take pictures, put them into my computer and send them to friends and family. Which I have done. I have taken the pictures. I have uploaded them to my computer. 

And, for the rest of the summer, (or until I get bored) I will share them with you. Please see future posts. 

Christian Patrick Clarke, 
Front Desk Maven Novitiate, 2012 
Hic et Ubique