I'm done. I went up to Vermont, lectured, read, graduated, and ate ice cream. I had a wonderful time. I caught up with old friends, got to know new friends, and drank wine with all of them. Much bonding was done. And now, I can proudly say, I AM A VERMONT COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS GRADUATE. I have a Master's degree in creative writing. I DID IT!
Now what? I've been asking myself that question ever since Margaret approved my creative thesis. No more packets due, no demands or requirements, nobody needs to know what happens to my characters... yes, I want to finish those two stories. And lots of people, Margaret included, think it's a good thing that I have several projects to work on so that I keep writing. But I don't want to write those stories. Not just yet.
I came back from Vermont pregnant. Not literally, but pregnant with a story idea that is growing inside me. I don't want to talk about it yet. I'm still in shock over the story idea myself. It's good. It's emotional--I don't usually write emotion. But this one will be emotional. It took me several days to do anything more than think about it. Now I am feeling it grow, feeling it form, and I wrote two chapters last night. It is going to be a rough nine months. It is more emotion than I've written in my cumulative years at VC!
I wondered why now. Why did I get this idea the night before I graduated? Why, as I sat listening to Carol Lynch William's incredible story of polygamy, did this story suddenly occur? My story has nothing to do with polygamy. It's not related to hers in the least. Except... emotion. The only answer I can find is that this story will require my complete education to write. And Carol's reading simply capped everything off with a message: you can write emotion, Patti. You can, and you will.
So, off I go. I have already cried three times in doing research. This story is about a girl with cancer. I have a feeling I'm going to cry a lot. But that's ok. It's worth it.
For those of you who are curious,I didn't shed tears in Vermont this residency. Heaven knows, previous residencies saw enough tears from me. I got a little sad at my reading, giving my thanks to the many wonderful people who supported me during this program. But I did not cry. I did not cry at graduation. I didn't cry saying good-bye to my friends, though I was sad about leaving.
But I will cry now, writing this story. Because I am a master. And I can master those emotions.