Today is the final day of my amazing VONA experience. People keep texting and asking if I’m having fun, and I can’t answer that question. Yes, of course I’m having fun, but what “fun” means here is something I don’t really know how to articulate. I’m completely exhausted, but it’s the best exhaustion of my life. I’ve spend the last week breathing the air as a writer, surrounded by amazingly talented, generous, kind and beautiful people. The women in my workshop have given me so much, have been such powerful sisters, have made me laugh so hard my face hurt, have made me think, have made me cry, have impressed me beyond description. I’ve been writing and writing and writing.
So yes, everyone who’s asked, I’ve had fun. Just know that those three letters can’t hold the fullness of what this week’s been for me.
In class the other day, we ran into that familiar wall of self-deprecation, of talking dismissively about our talents. It prompted Tananarive to make us go around the room and say, one at a time, “I am __________, and I am a damn good writer.” It was interesting to see how hard that was for so many of us. I said it when it was my turn. I even wrote it on my vision board down in the lounge, but I haven’t internalized it. Maybe it’s finally time to get on that. As one of my wonderful classmates said, “The first ‘yes’ has to come from you.”
So today is the end, but it’s also the beginning. I’ve been writing for years and years. Now it’s time to start being a writer. In a little while I have to go downstairs and make a public statement of my commitment to my writing for the next year. That’s so heavy, so powerful, so exactly what I need to do. One commitment is to carry VONA with me, to keep close to my head and heart all the strength and love that was gifted to me this week.