Not sure what kind of change, but I feel that this most recent VONA experience has left me (once again), a different person. I feel a much stronger pull to my writing now, now that I've been validated as a writer by two accomplished, published writers whom I respect and admire, the fierce, funny and multi-genre diva Jessica Hagedorn, and the equally fierce, brilliant and generous Chris Abani.
I've heard this from other writers before, that there were writers that came before them that they felt gave them 'permission' to write. Natalie Goldberg writes about this, I forget in which book. For me, this 'permission' came in the form of both Chris and Jessica telling me (and the other students in our workshops) that we are writers, and in them treating both of us as adults, giving us lots of good criticism and not as much praise, which is what I feel like I really needed to believe that I have the writing ability and talent to make a go of it in a more concerted, systematic way.
I'm actually writing this right now from a Holiday Inn room in Louisville, Kentucky, where I'm attending a conference for work. While the people here are quite open and welcoming and the content of the conference is interesting, after being at VONA the last couple weeks it just pales in comparison to that vibrant, provocative community of writers and artists.
I've been scanning the 'Conferences and Residences' section of Poets and Writers, and even had a talk with H. the other night about how, since he's working more steadily now at his job at Tumi's, maybe I can start making a plan, in the next couple years, to work less and write more. It's a scary thought to me, and one I need to mull over carefully. Obviously, I also need to talk to my job about this, but they also know I'm a writer and that this is important to me.
I just need more time to write. Even here, alone in my hotel room, I feel a peace and an openness to the act of writing that I haven't felt since my time at VONA. I can understand now why some people just really need to go away to write. I just need the time.
So I took some time tonite to work on a short story I started a while back, involving a bit of time travel and political commentary. Thinking of submitting it to an anthology of Philippine speculative fiction that Dean Alfar is editing. Wish me luck!