I sit here enjoying the silence, exhausted yet satisfied, after spending four intense days at the Yale Writers’ Workshop at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
Had to insert a nod to one of my favorite songs from my own college experience, which did not end on a good note.
This experience, however, DID, on so many levels.
It’s true that everyone has their own shit going on, and most of us are orchestrated every day by a ridiculously rigid schedule, including me. My schedule from April leading up to the workshop was so slammed full, I couldn’t even fit a thin pencil line between events and responsibilities. Other writing events and conferences, editorial assignments, school-related tasks including yearbook distribution and end-of-year procedures, writing, family obligations, homework for my Yale workshop, and a never-ending list of chores related to moving and taking care of my uncle’s estate has stretched me thinner than a rubber band pulled back to its maximum length right before it breaks. I’m mystified that even though I came close to snapping a few times, I’m still in one piece like that rubber band.
As is true with my fellow sufferers of imposter syndrome, I did not think my writing was of the “Yale Writers’ Workshop” caliber. However, I literally had this quote appear in my social media feed right above an ad for the Yale Writers’ Workshop:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
With Hanson’s words resonating in my mind, I took a chance and applied despite my feelings of inferiority, believing I’d fail.
However, I realized it was time for me to fly as I wept tears of joy when I read my acceptance email on April 2.
I then cried for a different reason as I faced the truth I’d have to venture out of my comfort zone by driving on roads that frightened me to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
I promised myself that when it was time to go to Yale, I’d focus solely on the workshop and put all other distractions out of the way, including my feeds, my calendar, and whatever was scribbled on my to-do lists, both real and perpetual.
And I did just that, minus a few Instagram posts…hell, when I see a USPS mailbox decorated like R2D2, I must share!
I’m humbled to have sat in the presence of twelve other phenomenal writers in my workshop titled “The First Ten Pages,” including my teacher, “Marlena” author Julie Buntin. Everyone was kind, enthusiastic, and inspiring as we spent four intense days workshopping the first ten pages of each other’s manuscripts, as well as hearing from speakers Steve Almond, Betsy Lerner, and Chaya Bhuvaneswar. I gained new friends, new insight, and new ideas to re-craft Chapter One-A Novel to make it the best it can be for the reader. I see it, and my intuition knows it is right. My vision will become a reality. I’m looking forward to reading the revised drafts written by my fellow attendees.
And, good news! I successfully navigated the way to and from New Haven surprisingly without any fear! I can do it!
I’m also still absorbing the wonderful advice I acquired from presentations by Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, and Colum McCann at the third annual Rutgers Writers’ Conference held the first weekend of June.
As I finish out the school year and digest the feedback about my novel, the first steps of Chapter One-A Novel’s re-crafting will begin tomorrow.
I plan to engage more with readers on my blog and to building a better platform over the summer while working on some other side projects.
I’m finally flying…man, my spirit guide would be so proud of me.
Thanks for accompanying me on my journey!