posted on November 02, 2014 21:55
It's taken me a few weeks to get back to normal; really, just to get over the heinous jet lag I always experience coming back from the east coast. It was extra crappy this time since it took me almost 24 hours to get back home. Things are back to normal and yet completely different. Even writing the world "normal" makes me want to go back and delete it because I have a new definition of normalcy. Viable Paradise was a life-changing, game-changing, world-enhancing experience (in case all the hyphens didn't give you a clue).
• I met lifelong friends, who I miss every single day. I feel like I found my tribe and it's awesome. I was excited to come home and see My Love and to sleep in my own bed. I wanted to spend Sunday decompressing with him, and wanted my classmates and the awesome VP Staff and instructors to come decompress with me. I wanted writer camp to continue - and honestly, I wanted some of Mac's cooking (damn we ate well). Instead I spent the day in my PJs, eating pumpkin pie in bed and reading "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn when I wasn't getting caught up with My Love and taking a ton of naps. Not a bad way to decompress either, but I left a piece of my heart in that place and time.
• I received the much needed push to keep writing and to take my writing seriously. That was exactly what I needed to hear, and was a massive boost of confidence that I was lacking.
• I learned to open myself up to the possibilities and to open my heart. I was able to attend Viable Paradise thanks to the generosity of friends who are now part of my ever-growing family. Asking for help was the hardest and most rewarding and awe-inspiring thing I have ever done.
• I feel more at home in my own skin than I ever have. My ideas are sometimes whacky, often tongue-in-cheek, and they are all mine. I'm embracing them and running with them, and it's so much fun.
• So many pieces of what I was missing with my writing are filled in. I'm better able to see the problems, and more importantly, I can fix them.
• I was blessed with two mentors who understand me as a writer and who were the perfect audience for my story. That being said...
• Not everyone is your target audience. That's a good thing because this world needs diversity and all types of books and writing.
• Sometimes you get creatively burnt out, and that's okay. When that happens, taking an evening to enjoy the company of others while drinking Jameson and listening to "The Silence of the Lambs" audiobook and eating Hershey's chocolate is a great cure. A creative life requires breaks and time to recharge. This was how I spent my Wednesday at VP and I ended up re-writing 536 words that I was really happy with.
• Ferry boats are fabulous. They are magically delicious.
• Martha's Vineyard in the fall is fabulous. If you haven’t been, you should go. Right. Now.
• I walked to the beach with one of my favorite writers. I brought back beautiful seashells and rocks, along with writing and life advice.
• I stayed at a historic Vicorian bed and breakfast for my one night in Boston and it was so incredibly cool and creepy cool. The owner grows dahlias of all shades in the backyard, winters in Key West, and made me feel right at home. My flight got in an hour late and by the time I got there the proprietor had to go take care of some family stuff. The keys, including a giant skeleton key, were taped to the door along with a note saying "Had to run out, you're the only guest, make yourself at home and see you tomorrow!" The lights inside and down to the basement were on a timer, the bathroom was upstairs, complete with clawfoot tub and "Psycho" shower curtain. Oh, and this was my room. Beats a hotel any day.
• I am not weird or abnormal for having a multitude of interests. They make me interesting and multifaceted.
• People are really interesting. Talk to people, and find out their life stories, and you will have incredible travel experiences. Every stage of my journeys, both ways, were filled with people who made the journey worthwhile.
• The only things that matter in life are to do the things that make you happy and to go on this crazy journey with people who matter to you. That's really it. Unless you're Conan the Barbarian, then it's all about crushing your enemies, etc.
• My fondest memories include singing "Whisky in the Jar", walking to the beach twice to see luminescent jellyfish and staring at the Milky Way, swapping Hungarian food stories, having Bear read "The Unstrung Harp" while we all laughed and groaned with total understanding, and so many more moments that I would love to take you all back to just to say "See this? This. All of this."
If you want to write science fiction and fantasy, apply and, gods willing, attend Viable Paradise. Do it. Write, life, laugh, and have some fun. Drink whisky and good craft beer, and Scurvy Cure. Take chances, feel all the feels, support your fellow writer and fellow human beings.
For several other VPXVIII retrospectives, I'd like to point you to my fellow classmates and writers:
Live well and write well, my friends.