I’m staring at my screen and thinking about slice of life, and I just can’t bring myself to write about the pandemic or the emotional rollercoaster that is school starting, even though all the slices of my life are currently circling around those topics.
Circling might not be quite the right word. . . More like being strong-armed by centripetal force.
I just can’t.
So instead I’ll write about the surprise package that arrived on my doorstep on Friday. A new book, that I didn’t order, from an independent bookstore in Denver.
Doesn’t the cover just fill your heart with joy? Doesn’t it compel you to drop whatever you’re doing to read the jacket copy and then curl up to dig in? (That was my reaction.)
A little backstory on this mystery:
This summer I started an MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Absolutely bucket list for me, and I’m head over heels thrilled to be doing it.
That said, this program is no joke. It is intense.
One of the expectations is to read at least 10-12 books a month. And while I’ve always been a voracious reader, this is a significant bump from my typical volume (especially in combination with all the critical and creative writing that is expected).
So while I was thrilled to open the package and find a YA novel that was (coincidentally) on my TBR list, I knew I had not ordered it yet.
On the packing slip: the name of another VCFA student, a Denver writer in her final semester of study. A student who I had encountered in our ten day online residency in July, but who I have still not officially met.
I was flooded with gratitude at her generosity. And not simply the generosity of sending the book, but knowing that this care package would arrive as first semester students would be closing in on our first big deadline. It was like a virtual fist bump, a wordless pep talk.
This gesture of welcome to the VCFA community—one of many I’ve experienced since beginning the program—is exactly what I want to reflect on today, on the eve of officially returning to work and school.
It is helping me to appreciate the ways communities are connected: through what we read, what we write, and how we share.
This care package reminds me to elevate connection with my colleagues as we all return to the building this week, knowing that everyone will be spinning in their own way.