Just a couple weeks after loosing my father I attended the Wesleyan Writers Conference in Connecticut. I'd won a scholarship from my undergrad institution just a few months before that, and though everyone assure me that I didn't have to go, I needed to. I brought two bags: one small suitcase filled with clothing and other essentials, and an large duffle bag filled with books. I spent days filtering in an out of workshops, met more new people in one setting, willingly, than I ever had before, and spent endless hours on the breezy green lawns writing a long series of bad poetry on death and survival.
I met authors I loved and admired, was introduced to authors in person and on paper I now considers my most favorite. I woke up every morning and read through the New York Times they provided and ate huge bowls of fresh fruit oatmeal. I remember bits and pieces of writing projects I began that week, but I think it was so much more than that. So far from everyone and everything I knew, I spent a week with words - a week to sort myself out a bit.
I'm so grateful to have received the scholarship, to have had so many people behind be, to have had those days to remind myself of myself (and oh, what a task that can be).