How do you make magic? Since I don’t have a cauldron or a wand, and I am unfortunately all muggle, my method was less Prospero and more Field of Dreams. “If you build it…”
This past weekend, twenty some odd writers gathered at a one hundred fifty year old farm house in the rural north country of New Hampshire. It was the first reunion of Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA alumni. These writers traveled from Oklahoma, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, and one even sneaked in from Canada.
The magic was not a slow build. It did not need to percolate. It burst upon us and just gained in power like a flywheel hurtling at maximum speed. People who had not seen one another in years, or had never met, immediately curled into chairs and nooks and shared writing and ideas.
We called our grad school residencies “the bubble.” In the bubble we were not teachers, accountants, or nurses. We were just writers among our own kind. It is not hyperbolic to say the creative juice it distilled was palpable and potent. This weekend we made our own bubble.
People who had not written since they turned in their graduate thesis picked up pens. Others, trying to make newly released novels stand out in the sea of the marketplace, got tips and ideas. Works in progress were read and discussed. Think comic con is a nerd fest? Watch a group of writers geek out over word choice and dialogue tags. Two of our professors, pretty good facsimiles of Dumbledore and Gandalf, gave readings and let us once again pick their brains.
On Saturday night we circled a campfire. We shared stories, words, laughs, and a bottle of Fireball. I sat back, watching, listening and thought, “Yeah, we did this.” We made magic. Of course magic is easier with help, and we had two house elves who worked tirelessly for us. I think the magic of the bubble is not just being among one’s own kind, but the reassurance that there is a “kind.” Although the act of putting words on a page is a solitary pursuit, there are others out there smacking their heads against the same blank screens or floundering before a deadline. We are part of a literary community, and we renewed that fellowship this weekend.
Yeah, we did this.
#treesandotherremedies #writersretreat #mfa