Sometimes you spend a couple of days with people and you find the pictures of them you had in your imagination are turned on its head. I went into the workshop with a patchwork of images I had gleaned from their writing. Angsty, Goofy, Raw, Masterful, these were some of the terms that I used as labels.
In spending four days with these people, sharing meals, swapping stories, revealing secrets, being vulnerable, I have come to rip off those labels and see them for who they are. Humans with a need to connect, to be understood. I walked the streets of New Haven today with women mostly. We hooted with laughter, flirted with the baristas and froyo vendors. We left our normals selves behind for a day. We just were.
Tomorrow we read our work in front of our peers. Tomorrow we also hear from editors of magazines. We hear from publishing agents. We get to pitch our ideas to them. I see people in clusters pitching each other, taking notes, typing away methodically in bullet points why their story is worth hearing. I see parts of myself in them.
It is pretty late in the night, the silence is loud. I should be in bed but I am making bullet points too. These, however, are for me. In a few days, I will be back on a train home. I will miss these women. I will miss the camaraderie. I will miss being understood. I will miss this ability to jump out of bed at 11:30 at night because I had an idea I wanted to note down. I will miss the walks. I will miss the iconic spires, towers and the Hogwarts like magic of this place.