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An Occasional Post

Vermont College of Fine Arts

It’s still hot here, as it is almost everywhere on the east coast, and I am dreaming of moving North. Labrador, Greenland, Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay—don’t they sound enticing?

And yes, I believe we’ve brought this heat on ourselves. More on that some other time. For now, let’s talk about Vermont College of Fine Arts. I’ll start.

The summer residency ended on Tuesday and many attendees have been napping ever since. Perhaps at this very moment some are stretching, showering, and talking to their families for the first time in days. So much talking occurs during the res that everyone deserves a few days of quiet.

This was a very rich and very wonderful 12 (11?) days with extraordinary lectures and readings by graduates and faculty. I am so lucky to be part of this institution. And here’s the thing: it’s a community. Not the kind of community I had at Camp Lakeside, but there are definite similarities. For example:

1. Communal bathrooms (no private bathrooms on campus)
2. Shared rooms (but only two to a room, not eight or ten, and there are singles)
3. Cafeteria food (Lakeside was better)
4. Mysterious legends (there’s a ghost in College Hall)
5. Rituals and traditions
6. Occasional expotitions (thank you, Pooh)off-campus (downtown Montpelier, Curtis Pond)
7. Reading out loud
8. Laughter and tears
9. Bugs
10. Midnight snacks.
11. Creativity unleashed
12. And so much more: deep friendships, love, and life-changing experiences.

After each residency, our community scatters far and wide, just as we campers did all those years ago. It’s a lot easier to stay in touch these days, as we all know. But the intensity of being together is different. It just is. You know it and I know it.

I'm on faculty leave this semester-- no students. But I will continue to be present in every other way. My need for community has never changed. I find it in different places, but I continue to find it. I hope you’re all equally fortunate.
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