On Friday the 14th we had our first open reading of the 2018-2019 school year. The evening featured the poetry and prose of the three individuals who lead our program: Associate Director Lizzy Fox, faculty member and Editor of the college’s literary magazine Hunger Mountain Erin Stalcup, and Director Rita Banerjee.
Looking back a year ago when I started the program, I remember that the first reading set the tone for the semester to come. This year, as students, faculty, and community members mixed over glasses of wine, I wondered where we would be heading under this new leadership, and what glimpses into their writing lives the evening in Café Anna would bring us.
Introduced by several of my peers, each writer delivered beautiful and interesting words, delving into both in-progress and long-published works, their subjects ranging from a personal reaction to the events of 9/11, to a study on the ritual of mourning the dead, to a retelling of a simple, poignant exchange at the fountain in front of College Hall.
“Already?” I heard one of my fellow students whisper to their neighbor as the evening came to a close.
Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about how Lizzy Fox talked about keeping gratitude lists as a springboard for one of her pieces. Ever since, I’ve been mulling over my own little list: I’m grateful for a cohort of kind, brilliant, and curious people; I’m grateful for a team of inspirational and thought-provoking mentors and writers at the helm; I’m grateful for summers away from VCFA, and for the opportunity to come back to it again, rested and ready to write.