Friday, July 18, 2008

Taking a Deep Breath

Now the work begins. The residency is over, and I'm taking a short breather before starting on my first packet.

Short is the operative word, here - my first packet is due on August 18th. And since I'm writing picture books, time will feel very compressed.

What I'd like to do in this blog now is not just fill you in on the residency experience, but also share some of the things I learned - there were many, many craft issues addressed at a very sophisticated level, and my goal is that you should hear something about them here, too.

But first, just a recap of the emotional aspects of this program. Vermont College has recently become independent from its parent Union Institute and University, and VC is seeking accreditation in its own right. This has given us all a sense of pride and ownership in a college program that is dedicated solely to the arts at the highest level of achievement. If you've thought about moving up in your craft/skill, and feel ready, I cannot recommend this program enough. It's fabulous.

And we all really bond here - there's a familiarity that grows very quickly not only among the students, but also between faculty and students. Each meal time, faculty sat down with students; they attended our parties and readings and student lectures; they laughed and cried and argued with us - we were all very much a team.

And how often in life can you sit in a room filled with amazing award-winning authors and feel a part of their world?

By last night, when we all said goodbye until January, there was a spontaneous party (of course), and there were many tears and hugs and warm partings, and a feeling of kinship that was unlike anything I've ever felt (even stronger than anything I felt in college or when I went to sea lo those many years ago). We are now part of this wonderful community of writers, who bleed and sweat writing, who love the written word with a passion usually reserved for spouses and children and grandchildren and pets.

Next time, some craft issues.


Michele Regenold said...

Ah, the emotional stuff. If my classmates knew I was posting here, they'd be laughing their behinds off.

I didn't go to VC for emotional support or to make friends. I went to become a better writer.

Despite my innate crabbiness (or at least my reserve that can be interpreted as crabbiness), I did make friends among the student body and the faculty, and that has had and will continue to have at least as much impact on my writing life as the craft part of the experience.

Varian Johnson said...

Yeah, the emotional stuff. It's like you're going along, minding your own business, and then before you know it--BAM--you just get overtaken by the emotion of the entire experience.

Anyway, I'm glad that you decided to do the program, and I'm glad we were able to share workshop together.

FYI - How's that pirate tatoo?

Janet Fox said...

Hey guys! I love hearing from you - it's the "cult" thing that our class is talking about - and yes, I too went there for the craft part and didn't expect at all to like so many people and connect in such a deep way.

Hey, Varian - the tattoo lingers! I love it! Should I get one for real?? And I hope to see you in November, and maybe get your signature then...since I spaced on getting it in Vermont.

Varian Johnson said...

Should you get one for real? Of course! What writer wouldn't want a pirate tatoo!

I'll let you know if I'll be able to make it. I've got a picture book that could use some serious attention, so maybe I'll pop down there for the conference.