I am a student in the Southern New Hampshire University low residency MFA program and I just completed another winter residency with forty of my closest friends.
It is hard to describe a residency experience, but there is something magical about being surrounded by talented, inspirational people that seem as excited about your writing as you are. We learn a lot in our workshops and of course we have fun, but it is the community experience that cannot be described. People sitting with notebooks, tapping on laptops, writing on their hands.
scenes informally in a corner for feedback, making lists of “flaws” that could be attached to characters. Crying about powerful scenes, laughing about everything else. Reading
Now I am home and now it begins. That period of being back in the real world, where working the day job comes first, writing second. Where my husband, although always supportive, doesn’t understand why I fret over a paragraph, a sentence or a word. Where a phrase like “Bro-s before Prose” doesn’t bring a smile and a bottle of fairy dust is nothing but a child’s toy. The real world.
Post residency depression.
It usually lasts about a week. I will feel sorry for myself, look at my pictures and try to keep those memories fresh for just a little longer. I will eat junk food, smoke too much and try not to roll my eyes when my husband says, “It’s just one sentence, who will notice?” I will procrastinate in my reading and in my writing, throw a few inappropriate fits and argue with a convenience store clerk or two for no apparent reason. I will stay in bed as long as possible, take several hot baths and try everything I can to get out of cooking dinner.
Then I will sit at my keyboard and begin again. Write, read, edit, delete, revise, repeat.