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.