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i’ve fallen in love. this is to you.

April 6, 2011

i leave for vegas today for an unofficial celebratory grad trip, and for me, that marks the end of my 2nd year in my MFA out here at UBC. true, a good chunk of the people in our ’11 year are staying in vancouver to continue living and writing and being generally fabulous, but a good chunk of people are also splitting – heading on to other adventures – and my heart hurts because of that. all of a sudden, people that i’ve spent two years with are leaving.

 

i can genuinely say that these two years have been the most telling and formative years of my life so far.

it was a real struggle to settle in here. i was the youngest in my year – i still am – and i got some pretty yucky flack for that at first. the autumn i moved to vancouver was one of the worst, and we didn’t see sun – ANY SUN – for 6 weeks. 6 weeks. and the apartment building i moved to had bedbugs, so one month in to my journey here, i was dealing with a whole lotta shit. i felt inadequate because people were coming from already established backgrounds in writing. i felt lonely because i had just moved from a household of amazing supportive hilarious girls at queen’s university, and i wasn’t used to living on my own. i was scared of the city. just getting out of bed and outside every day was a challenge. i remember coming home at thanksgiving and folding into my father’s arms at the airport and sobbing and sobbing. i didn’t want to be in vancouver. i didn’t like that people walked so slowly, that i was looked upon with suspicion because i was from toronto, that it was so damp and that my boots never dried. i wanted to move back home and feel safe. i felt that the risks i took coming out here weren’t worth it..

and then i fell in love.

 

 

with the people in my program.

 

i really started to get to know the people around me. and i saw this immense creative strength in everybody. not only a creative strength, but a genuine goodness in most of the people i met and got closer to. most people were focused on bringing each other up. and people helped me. i was introduced to crystal healing, drag queen bingo, real montreal poutine here in vancouver, hamburger mary’s, angels in america, the joys of drinking kahlua, screenwriting, playwriting, creative criticism, car trips to washington just to see target.

.

our year because extremely enmeshed extremely quickly, and i wouldn’t have had it any other way. yes, some relationships have seriously combusted, while other unexpected ones have strengthened. yes, we got – and get – in fights. we are a bunch of (mostly drunken) writers with big egos and fucking insane ideas. we argue. we get pretty damn mouthy. i have had some of my biggest upsets here, but i wouldn’t trade that shit for anything because all of it worked. it all worked.

i love the people around me and i am going to miss them so much, because the combination of all them – they have taught me more about myself and the way i write and why i write than any other person ever. and that includes therapists! doesn’t that sound like trite tripe? maybe. who cares.

why do i feel such a connection with these people? because i believe that writing is a complete exposure of some of the rawest, scariest parts of us. i have yet to see a writer who has written a poem, for instance, that is completely bereft of any of that writer. we put something of ourselves into each thing we write, flippant or not, serious or not, good or not. and so to have a bunch of (at first) strangers reading these pieces and commenting on these pieces is one of the scariest things in the world. and i never cried after workshop. i was never brought to tears, because i realised that no matter what, the people around me wanted my writing to become better. there was no sabotage or subterfuge. and maybe that’s luck of the draw – maybe i just picked really good classes to be in. but either way, no student ever put my writing down. teachers – sometimes. students – never. it galvanizes you, being in a program like this. it’s an odd baptism by fire, the first workshop. and yes, most people in this program know everything about my life. we gossip about each other relentlessly. it’s a weird little society we have, but it works for me most of the time. and i’m happy with it.

this is to you, program. this is a shlocky blog post dedicated to each person in this program that i’ve interacted with. you have read and commented on some of my direst, most private moments and you have been so therapeutic. you have bolstered me and encouraged me to push myself as a writer – to submit to actual lit mags, to edit and re-edit poetry. you have listened to me cry on the phone. i have listened to you cry on the phone. we have gotten drunk and tried to dance in the gay go-go boys’ shadow boxes at the gay bars. we have marked, written, read, and talked together. i will miss you – beyond words.

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for a writer – that is saying so much without saying anything at all.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 10:03 am

    cute heart attack, onwards and upwards, baby! love you too!

  2. Emily permalink
    April 6, 2011 1:06 pm

    I am in SO MUCH denial about things ending.

    But I love you too.

  3. April 6, 2011 2:48 pm

    I’m with Emily. DENIAL. Love abounds.

    Your transparency with and documentation of us is a gift. You are a gift. Keep giving us what you’ve got.

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