The schedule for the January residency for the Lesley University MFA program has been posted, and it carries a lot of different meanings for me.
First, there is the thrill of all the things I’ll be doing at this one. Obviously there’s the whole graduating and getting a degree bit, but I’ll also be running my own seminar, and reading a chapter of my thesis work.
This, of course, bleeds into my feelings of anxiety and fear. Getting up on stage to read is nerve-wracking enough, but everyone will be tucked into their seats, and with the bright stage lights in my face I probably won’t be able to see them so they can all just take a nap and I won’t even notice. Now, the seminar, for that I’ll have to hold people’s attention for at least 45 minutes, and those people, whether few or many, will be sitting close enough that I’ll be able to see the disinterest in their eyes if I make a muck up out of this.
There’s also the general excitement of the residency. Since it’s not required, I’ll be getting there a couple of days in, but for the first few days I won’t have any responsibilities. I can hijack seminars I never had a chance to go to, I won’t be freaking out over upcoming workshops, and I can just hang out with all my Lesley friends.
There’s also a bit of depression over the whole thing. While the end of the whole thing is exciting, it’s still THE END. While I’m personally close enough that I can still conceivably poke my head in on the residencies, most of my dearest Lesley friends do not. Instead, they are completely ridiculous and live in other time zones, or even countries, and will no longer have student loans to help cover airline fare over to the east coast. And, even if I do go back to Lesley, it’s not going to really be mine anymore. Even if I’m there, it will belong to a whole new crop of writers.
I’m excited for the upcoming residency, and there are so many things that I have gotten out of this program that extend well beyond just an improved ability to write. But it’s also a little sad, and it’s going to be a bittersweet feeling when it’s finally over.