Celebrating the residency, parentheses, and winter


Winter Is the Best Time

By David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.

Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,

cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space

to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

From While We’ve Still Got Feet. © Copper Canyon Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission of the author.


The winter residency at VCFA is my favorite, primarily because I hate hot weather, and the dorms can be stifling in July. But also because of so much more, and fellow Vermonter David Budbill says it better than I could. (This winter, snow is noticeably absent, so of course I keep going off on tirades about global warming.)

I love love love winter; the colder and snowier the better (see above: global warming). There are fewer reasons to go outside and do something , particularly when there’s no snow. (Ditto.) I hate doing things.  Instead, winter brings the glowing laptop screen, the habit of daily writing, the delight of reading next to the wood stove, and, of course, playing with dogs.

At VCFA, the dogs are absent, but the community of writers is so extraordinary that I manage. I draw on my inner strength. VCFA’s community of brilliant students, administration, and faculty (welcome to new faculty members Matt de la Peña and April Lurie!) is truly a Vermont version of Brigadoon. We even had some singing! And our visitors, Libba Bray and Marla Frazee, added to the enchantment.

After each residency, I come home full of ideas, well-plated food (this seems to be the new descriptor), and usually a stomach virus or a cold. (And I don’t even have to get on an airplane. Condolences to all of you who traveled.) Then I sleep for a while. A long while.  

This January, I woke up in time to watch the ALA awards, and I am very very happy about the Caldecotts, in particular. Note that the gold medal went to a dog book. I haven’t read Dead End in Norvelt yet, but I will. Jack Gantos helped start our program! Chris Raschka taught a semester with us!

The photo above, courtesy of Roger Crowley, includes all the January faculty minus (sad to say)  Coe and Mark. As for the bear: s/he is celebrating fifteen years of the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can buy one from the VCFA bookstore.


I close with congratulations to the Keepers of the Dancing Stars, the class of January, 2012. May the muses always be with you.


(For more photos from the January residency: http://tinyurl.com/6vbkwwg 

Roger Crowley does a great job. The snow you see in some of Roger’s work doesn’t count. Mere inches. See above, global warming. Note: you can learn a lot from this photo, particularly about footwear.)





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2 responses to “Celebrating the residency, parentheses, and winter

  1. Kathi Appelt

    Longing, that’s what your post instills in me Leda!

  2. terrypierce

    Yes, this makes me miss the winter residency. Thanks, Leda, for posting the faculty photo. My first thought was that Martine’s hair looks fabulous straight, and when I saw you with the teddy bear, I couldn’t help but recall how at our first advisor meeting, I referred to you as a “teddy bear” advisor (because I you struck me as such a huggable person :-).

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