Vermont College Winter Residency began yesterday. The first since my graduating the two-year MFA program last July. Feels odd not being there.
Describing the Vermont experience is damn near impossible. The program pared my prose, kick-started my creative, and launched my learning curve into the stratosphere (often an uncomfortable place to be while juggling deadlines, E's frequent illnesses, and family obligations). Keeping my learning curve on an upward slope will continue to be a challenge, because I've yet to find a writer's conference, lecture, or workshop that compares to the rigors of VC.
So, as Winter residency begins, I remember... living, eating and breathing the thing that I loved for 11 glorious, uninterrupted-by-kids days.
In the case of VC, imagine discussions, workshops, lectures, readings, and more, about writing for children and young adults. Not debating the surface stuff. Talking about what works in a piece (or doesn't) and why, so you can train your inner editor and apply what you've learned to your own work.
Imagine 14-plus hour days until your body can't keep the pace any longer, but your muse is so inspired and invigorated that all it wants you to do is pack up early so you can return home, and write non-stop.
While I don't miss the hike across campus to the cafeteria during the winter residencies, especially when the wind blew so cold my thighs burned and my glasses froze up, I do miss the company and the great conversation about all things kid lit.
A big shout out to all my Vermont buds, especially my online crit group friends T and S, who are starting their second semesters. Pace yourselves, give my advisors hugs, save me an MFA Today, and don't eat too much seitan.