Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vermont College of Fine Arts Residency (Part I)

Where to begin?

I'm on my sixth day of the ten-day residency at the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and all I can say is...Wow.

It's such an exhausting and exhilarating experience that I'm not sure what to even write about.  Let's put my random thoughts into bullet points, shall we?
  • We have amazing faculty members such as Tim Wynne-Jones, Rita Williams-Garcia, Martine Leavitt, An Na, and Matt de la Peña, among so many others.
  • Our writer-in-residence this semester is Newbery Award winning author Linda Sue Park, who's lovely, intelligent, and a wicked dancer.  I've only read When My Name was Keoko, which I loved; now I have to read the rest of her books!
  • I got my writing workshopped today for the first time ever and it wasn't bad.  Strange, having people talk about your work right in front of you (being a big fan of the editorial letter myself), but not bad.  The criticism was super constructive and I'm excited to begin implementing a lot of it into the piece.
  • There are lots and lots of readings, including student ones among their own classes for more intimacy.  Wimpy me did not take part in the readings this semester.  I suppose I'll have to force myself next semester, though I'm sure a certain classmate with whom I'll be connecting in the city--ahem, Tim--will continue to encourage (or bug) me while I'm away from VCFA.
  • VCFA had a great editorial panel answer questions about the publication process.  Editors from Penguin, Peachtree, Random House, and Egmont showed up in full force.  Nothing really new for me, but I generally enjoy these talks.  An editor from my job was there, actually, and I've been instructed to keep an eye out for budding writers.  Shouldn't be too hard, with all the talented people around me.
  • We get three square meals a day provided by the New England Culinary Institute, so good food here.  I'm pretty easy to please in that department, so I can only speak for myself, but still, everyone has to agree that their cookies rock, right?  The sugar rush alone keeps me going for hours on end.
  • I'm meeting all sorts of interesting people, from publishing folks I'd only known by reputation, to authors repped by my house (Hi Lisa and Pablo!), to the rest of my awesome first semester classmates who'll be suffering with me through the MFA process.

    I'm falling asleep as I type this, so until the next post!