Since graduating from my MFA in Creative Writing, I’ve been seeking connection. Community. Yes, I have my regular text cheer squad, my weekly writing group, and my Zoom writing pals. I love these people dearly. They are phenomenal writers. But nothing quite beats the sense of community that you get from immersing yourself with other writers for a good, long period of time – that beautiful space where you eat, sleep, and breathe your craft. I’m referring to summer camp for writers, the place of magic and dreams: the writing residency.
This summer, I was accepted on to not one, but two summer writing workshops-cum-conferences-cum-residencies: the Community of Writers 2022 Writers’ Workshop in Lake Tahoe, and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, where I was placed in a Fiction Workshop with the legendary short story writer, ZZ Packer.
It was at Lake Tahoe where I found my people. The days were jam-packed: morning workshops by the side of a mountain (at altitude – not fun for my brain and sleep!), followed by panels, discussions, lectures, generative sessions, and evening reading from a roster of talented authors. Plus wine. Plus parties. Plus impromptu coffee house readings. And, for the first time since before I met my husband (i.e. a long time ago), I shared a house with others. Cue me pretending to be a student again. Suffice to say, by the end of the week, I was exhausted and exhilarated. Never have I been in a workshop with such a talented bunch. Napa was good, but just could not hold a flame to Tahoe. Perhaps I’m a crazy person for doing both in succession. Perhaps, perhaps.
There were literary agents, editors, and famous authors in attendance at the Community of Writers (I finally got to meet my agent in person – yay!). Topics on publishing were perfectly balanced with craft talks. Magazine editors spoke about what they were looking for. It was inspiring to be around such talent, such imagination. And yes, it reaffirmed everything that needed reaffirming on my writing career: I am doing the right thing, in the right place, with the right people.
I met my people. I had the best time, and I can’t wait to return to Tahoe next summer.