Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fitting in...

I've always been a person enthusiastic about jumping right into organized activities and bonding with people over them. I loved going away for camp and coming home a week later with people I felt sure I'd stay connected with forever. In school I was "inside joke" girl; so much so that my yearbooks are filled with obscure references about hypothetical beach parties and nicknames that no longer make sense. Every time I go into a new work situation (which is often) I can find a lunch partner in no time at all.

And so it comes as no surprise that I have developed a great bond with folks whom I have met in my MFA program that I completed almost a year ago. I went back this week, to visit classmates who are still there, and to get a little work done uninterrupted by domestic chores and such.

Honestly I didn't know entirely what to expect. For those of you unaware of my program, it is a "brief residency" which has gained popularity in recent years by attracting mainly older and/or non-traditional students who are not in a position to pick up and move to some college town for two years to teach undergrads. Instead, there are two ten-day "residencies," twice a year, where students and faculty alike arrive from all over the United States for intensive workshopping and lectures and leave with an individual mentor whom they will work for the ensuing semester. It was everything I'd hoped it would be and more.

Still. Coming back someplace when your status has changed can be awkward. You don't want to be the loser-y burnout who is forever spotted playing hackey-sack on the Quad (okay, Spalding doesn't even have a Quad and I'll admit I've not once seen anyone playing hackey-sack...) But you get what I'm getting out.

Check Spelling
But it turned out great. I ended up seeing most of the people I wanted to, had interesting interactions with new folk, and get an impressive amount of work done (if I do say so myself) while still managing to indulge in dinners and drinks with friends. And staying with a super cool new-ish friend who didn't mind not knowing how long I planned to "hang out."

The best thing about "fitting in" here is, like most places where people share your interests or mindset, there is no explanation needed. Most everyone just "gets it." After about ten years of feeling like a "writer" outside of this group I still find it necessary to buffer my answer with jobs I have had or am currently pursuing in order to make ends meet. It's quite lovely to not feel the need to do that.

In the same way it feels good to start singing camp songs and have someone join in. Not that I do that...often...

1 comment:

  1. we loved having you here. still thinking about your readings...