Two years ago, I conceived a fraternity with my friend while we were just a little shitfaced at my first residency. It was a kinship of writers who share writing processes, drinks, and laughs. Today, not only does it live on, but it is a nucleus of sorts. The program seemed to swirl around us. Mentors talked about the energy of us, how they will miss it in the lectures and the dining hall and on the terrace.
When one of the mentors introduced me to the new Program Coordinator, she introduced me as the head trouble maker, which was the highest honor. The frat engaged with faculty and students alike, offering bracelets for completed challenges. We created our own currency, our own exclusive club that tries to also be inclusive.
I presented a lecture and a reading. I have never felt more like a real writer. My story was so well-received that I felt urgently like I could take the literary world by storm.
“What’s next?” my mentor asked me in the receiving line after our closing ceremony. “I keep writing,” I replied. And I will. I refuse to be just another person with an MFA who shelves writing.
I don’t know that I’ll ever have nine days with my best friends all together in a lodge again, so I did my best to make the most of it. I think Jen and I confused everyone: people asked me if she was actually my wife, since we introduce each other that way. “Friend” just doesn’t quite encapsulate all that she is to me, this symbiotic relationship we’ve formed. I am so glad I had this program, this experience, and met these people who have given me life anew.