Among My Tribe

I am visiting Vermont College, serving as a graduate assistant during their summer residency for the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.  I have missed this place.  I didn’t realize how great the ache and need for it was until I had spent nearly a week here. 

It’s not so much the location as the purpose and the people.  It is one of the few places in the world where people gather to discuss children’s literature with the fervor usually reserved for politics and religious debate.  There are literally dozens of workshops, lectures, guest speakers, readings, and group discussions happening nearly nonstop throughout the ten days here.  It is total immersion therapy.

One of the visitors this weekend was talking about how it felt like coming home everytime she comes back to the college.  She said, “It’s like I stretch out my arms and say ‘My People’ and they all stretch out their arms and welcome me back in as though I’d never left.”

And I concur, whole-heartedly.  It is one of the few places I can go and begin talking about children’s writing without having to add caveats and explanations because everyone here just gets it.  It’s the thrill of sitting in a lecture or workshop knowing that some novice writer isn’t going to stand up and ask “Where do you get your ideas from,” or “Can I have the name of your agent and editor to submit to?”

In a way, it is my other home. It is where I feel comfortable in my skin; where I don’t have to explain what I do or why I do it; where I find a kind of completeness that is lacking in my “real world” existence. My only challenge now is to find a way to incorporate more of this level of wholeness into my life regularly, consistently.

And as usual – I have a plan. A cunning plan that cannot fail (I so love Black Adder). Wheels have been set in motion, and the gears are beginning to turn.  Lest I jinx it, I’ll save the rest for later when I have a better idea of how it’s all going to come together.

I used to feel this way – when I was still working on my MFA and came to Vermont every six months, and talked to the people in my class all the time.  It’s good to have this feeling back. It is energizing, and not surprising I guess, I am being flooded with ideas, thick and delicious and ready for picking! Because I believe in the power of the universe to help me create what I want and what I need, I know that good things are looming on the horizon. As much as I am wishing these things for myself, I know that I also have the support of all my family here in Vermont.  Of course, my family at home supports me, too, and I don’t mean to in any way slight them or their importance. It just means I have that much more energy working in my favor.  And in turn, I use my energy to support my friends and family – both families. That’s what you do in your tribe.

It’s so good to be home. Too bad I have to leave it and go home!


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