I've started my first residency at Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont, in their MFA-Writing program.
My cohort of twenty students will get together, along with other cohorts and the faculty members to read and write, and to share what we read and write; also to attend workshops and lectures, and to design our individual courses of study for the coming semester, once the residency is at an end.
It's a creativity-rich environment, and after days spent talking about books and writing, and sharing books and writing with everyone in the college, I fall into bed exhausted but feeling my brain stretched and strained in new and exciting ways.
One of the things that most drew me to Goddard is the lack of boxiness of their program. Creative writing is by its nature a highly variable beast, and we're allowed, encouraged even, to pursue our writing, and educational growth, in the way that best suits us. It's a rigorous program, with lots of reading and writing for each student during every semester and residency, but we only use the material that will help further our craft, and our writing.
I've been fascinated by the diversity of teachers and students here, not in terms of race, sex, orientation, beliefs, etc. (although that is certainly rich as well), but in their, our, thinking and production of creative writing. It's amazing to see and hear how broad and deep the oceans of writing creatively can be ... I've spent my whole life looking at a smaller bay, and am only now exploring the vastness.
I spend my days choosing between multiple workshops and lectures: which ones can I afford to miss, which ones must I see? I'm filling my notebook with thoughts and ideas and tips gleaned from these wonderful people; a page in the back of my notebook is filling with ideas for stories and scenes and characters in my own writing.
It's an exciting program, and I truly feel the only limitations are those I set through perceptual or intellectual shuttering ... I cannot wait to explore this new world, and my place in it.