Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hightlights from VCFA-WCYA Winter Residency

Attending a residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts is a unique experience. In two weeks, you learn a ridiculous amount and build friendships faster than you could ever imagine. This is partly because of the insane schedule: lectures begin at 8:30 a.m. and readings end at 9:30 p.m. at the earliest, and you often work late into the night on homework for workshops or trying to capture the creative outpouring. It might also be in part that you're living in such close proximity to so many other writers: I don't remember dorm rooms being so small during my undergrad years, and if you spit, you just might hit a National Book Award nominee, Caldecott winner or Newbery medalist. Only 125 students get to share this experience every six months, and I feel totally blessed to be among their number.

Here's a little peek at what it's like to be a VCFA resident. I want to be respectful of the privacy and creative property of others, so I haven't included the content of any lectures and I've attempted to keep my references to creative work extremely general. But I hope you get an idea of how much fun I had for those 12 days in Vermont.

  1. Martine Leavitt called me "hot." And yes, she said I could quote her on that. Okay, so she was talking about a costume I wore to a masquerade dance and not my writing, but I'll take it. Oh yeah, she said some stuff about writing a novel in verse and poetic voice and other such nonsense, but the important thing is that she thinks I looked hot.
  2. I didn't fall on the ice. Apparently Heather Demetrios was quite the skater as a kid, and I managed to hold my own with her. She might be graceful and can do pretty spins, but I can smoke her in a race. She's Nancy Kerrigan to my Bonnie Blair.

  3. I survived the great Plague and Pestilence of Winter 2013. Sure, I was sick the entire week before and got to residency with a pulled shoulder muscle from throwing up so hard (yes, you really needed to know that), but I managed to escape falling to the epidemic that caused severe coughs, boiling fevers and even a few cases of pneumonia. My doctor assures me that I was not Patient Zero (I was past the contagious stage before I left), but one of my fellow students called me "the antibody that [they] couldn't figure out how to harvest."

  4. We had a sing-along. The main building on campus has this beautiful chapel with a real pipe organ, and every time I sit in that room, I want to sing hymns. Well, this residency, Alan Cumyn made my wish a reality by having us all stand and sign Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." It was a beautiful, moving experience, and I think sing-alongs should be required every residency.

  5. I heard some really great stories. Tom Birdseye, Tom Greene and Sarah Ellis blew my mind with their story telling abilities, and I heard about pirates, big Jewish families, kids with heartbreaking issues, fantastical worlds and so many other places I want to visit.

Though it was frigid (seriously, that's how described it) and I had to trudge through two feet of snow, I can't wait to go back to Vermont. This summer is sure to be filled with all kinds of adventure.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't even see this! Love it. I hope I can be Nancy Kerrigan without the whole knee bashing incident!! ;)