Lesley Residency 2.9

On a bus that had taken us to the Arts Institute of Boston and back tonight, program director Steven Cramer spoke to us for the last time before we dispersed, before we headed back to our separate realities. He said that he’d promised himself there would be no tears until the first commencement and that he was having a hard time keeping that promise. Then he left us with the same words he’d left us with last time, “Work well.”

There’s a certain something to these residencies that cannot be described to someone who hasn’t attended one. The relationships you develop with people and with your work during these intense periods of time are emotionally charged. At the end you are hungry to begin the work you’ve only been talking about for ten days but you are also sad to be leaving these people who you’ve spent nearly every waking moment with.

Today we had a panel on publishing, which was very helpful. We had meetings with our advisors to finish formulating our study plans for the semester. There were four hours to kill in the mid-afternoon so Jill, Sara, Shera, and I watched a movie, American Movie, and it was good. At the end of the day there was an art show and a student reading involving the AIB low-residency students and us. I read from “The One About Robin” and got a great response.

At the end of the night people depart differently. Some need to get out of there quickly to begin the work of getting back to reality on their own. Some linger. I lingered. Even after I’d watched everyone else depart the parking lot, after the hugs and handshakes, I stood for a moment in the cold to absorb it all.

On the car ride home I didn’t turn on the stereo. I drove with only my thoughts to keep me company and, though it was hard to fend off despair at times, I began planning the great work that lies ahead of me and, when I thought about that, five and a half months didn’t seem so far away.