So I was almost done with this post when I realized how absolutely boring it was. It was like, "Blah I did this, blah I did that, blah blah (fart noise)."
The thing about being a part of a writer group and all of us having our own blogs is we know exactly what the residency looked like. And then we all go home and type out what it looked like from our experience. We probably just want to say the great stuff and how great we are, or maybe we try to make each other laugh, but I didn't want to do a laundry list and Lew already wrote about underwater welding, so I'm sort of up a river on how to do this blog entry.
So let's focus on a Top Ten list, because maybe that way I can actually get through this blog.
Top Ten things that happened at Residency.
10. The trees.
The stillness of a dead house. The beach at sunset. The snow packed on branches deep in the woods, catching the sun like needles pricking the light. The cold beach, the closed lobster houses silhouetted in the dull black night.
9. The workshops.
Not being able to breathe beforehand. Not knowing it actually went well, because we're not there to do well, we're there to learn. Werewolves, ghosts in the backyard, chocolate hills, faces, Snow White in the desert, flash fiction challenges full of houses that eat you alive and dollmakers that will murder you from the outside in. And that house we had our final workshop in? Who knew I wouldn't miss the Stone House.
8. Saying goodbye.
We sang "Some Things are Meant to Be." I cried for real. All of the people who were here when I came, who gave me a floor to stand on, leaving. We're on our own now.
I got the Erin Underwood Award. This was a shock. I had no idea. I thought Nancy was telling me to sit by her because she thought I looked sad and no one else would want to sit by me. Turned out it was because she needed to slip me the award. I really need to stop listening to my brain.
6. Growing Up.
I've gotten to the point where I leave residency and I actually believe I can do things. I am now armed with a short story that I can send out. I am heading into my thesis. I have a panel at ICFA. I feel like I can now write something and it will come out the way I want it to look. Now onto mastering plot ...
5. Pillow Chocolates.
I ate a couple of them. Sorry, Shawna. The others I actually smuggled back to Omaha so I can send them down to Texas. Mission nearly accomplished.
4. Friends Growing Up.
I get so excited when someone sends me something new to read and it was better than the already-great thing they wrote last. I'm serious. You are awesome. Keep writing. Keep doing your thing. I will keep reading.
3. Faculty and Guest Speakers.
What other faculty in the world will have breakfast or lunch with you? Who will stay up until one in the morning to give you advice on talking to an agent? Who cries at graduation? We have some of the best faculty in any MFA program. They believe in us, they really do. And not only that, they care about us.
2. Finally Getting Home.
I was stuck in the Newark Airport. Then they channeled me to Lincoln. Not Omaha. We ended up giving a ride home to a few other Omahans redirected to Lincoln. We had a merry little band driving through the dark along I-80 at 10 at night. We've been invited to brunch for our kindness of letting someone sit in seats that would have been empty if they hadn't hitched a ride?
Alex had to mail me my pants. I forgot them. I was very grateful when they showed up and I was no longer having to get really creative with the one pair of leggings I did remember to pack.
This residency taught me a lot. Not only did I have to deal with my own crippling insecurities and learn how to be confident, but I learned so much from the seminars and the workshops about craft. I can't believe graduation is coming. I wonder if there's any way to do it all over again.
What is this?
Dawson is an editor and writer and MFA student at Stonecoast. She writes stuff.