I’m back in San Diego. Sitting in Lestats, surrounded by people I don’t know. Some are reading. Others writing. One even has a banjo (is that Brust?! Oh, wait. No. Dammit).
I’ve been trying to compose this post in my head all week – the one about what exactly happened to me at Viable Paradise – but there’s still so much, so I’ll start with the obvious and meta:
It was incredible/life-changing/the hands-down best week of my life/empowering/educational/inspirational/etc.
I could write essay after essay about the things I learned in the lectures, the colloquia, the one-on-ones, the important conversations stolen between critiques or on the last two nights when we could finally indulge sans-deadline. And I may at some point, as the lessons and epiphanies come back to the surface after this tide of emotion ebbs.
I have no regrets from the week, save one: I wish I had weeks more to spend with everyone. I miss every single classmate, instructor, and house elf terribly.
::takes a deep breath so as to not break down in the middle of a crowded coffee shop::
::it’s not working::
I’m sad and bewildered that it’s over. After writing and struggling in a relative vacuum for so long and to suddenly be surrounded by INCREDIBLE writers, all eager to talk about writing and life and love and pronouns and crack wonderfully terrible jokes and LAUGH. It was incredibly intense. It’s unlike anything I’d ever experienced before, and it’ll be unlike anything that will happen again. It was so engrossing that there was no such thing as “anywhere else”. There was no real life. There was only VP.
And I know I wasn’t the only one to come back to their real life, not quite buying that this is how things really are. So I will relate one small anecdote:
We started and ended the week by playing epic games of The Thing. And thinking back on it, I’m reminded of the movie They Live, where Rowdy Roddy Piper finds the sunglasses that allow him to see the aliens that really live all around him.
VP gave me such a pair of glasses. But when I look and see only normal people around me, I think back to my classmates and see the truth:
Steve Gould lied: none of us are human anymore. We’re all VPXVers. And no amount of “real life” could ever touch that.