Mornings spent listening to the masters of craft spread their words of wisdom, putting the life you've dreamed of within your grasp. Afternoon workshops, finding that one of the best ways to learn and grow is to grow in community. Evenings, drinking wine and listening to the masters read their breath-taking work. Nights connecting with those who are as passionate about the written word as you. And early mornings - real early mornings - curled up with a notebook, furiously scribbling the ideas that have roused you from sleep after the previous day's inspiration.
A girl could forget this is some fantasy writing camp, and not really everyday life.
Of course now, more than halfway through my first Pacific University residency (already?), I'm trying to figure out how to continue as much of this life as possible once I return home. Some of what I've heard has been helpful in the practical sense. Marvin Bell gave a talk titled "How to be a Writer Every Day," calling us to be writers by setting and meeting writing challenges, each and every day. Today's talk was an interview, Heather Sappenfield leading a discussion with Bonnie Jo Campbell about how even someone who hears early in her career that she is "everything wrong with writing today" can go on to find her voice as a writer, and become a very successful one at that.
Mostly, though, I know that I'll continue life as a writer not simply because I'll have advice to follow or assignments to turn in, but because this experience is reminding me of how I long to write, and to write better each day. For me, growing as a writer means growing as a person, because for me, writing is a daily reminder of my reason for being.
It's all so easy to remember in the moment, of course, and I can only hope that after this experience is over, I won't forget the invaluable lessons I've learned here. I get the feeling, though, that even if my conscious mind forgets, my writing reflexes will always remember. So long as I continue to be a writer every day.