On Mental Vacations & Writing Feels

I’m definitely not one of those lucky folks who gets to take vacations. I mean the long vacations to some beautiful place where work can be left behind and relaxation is the only thing on the to-do list. Every once in a while (read: maybe once a year), I go to Chicago. That’s the extent of my vacations, mostly because I don’t have the funds to go anywhere further away. To compensate, I take mental vacations. They’re usually pretty short, but the idea of it is that I can go wherever I want to, even if it’s only for an hour (or sometimes less).

I’ve been taking these little “vacations” quite often lately. I always go to Boston, but lately, I’ve been visiting Cambridge. It’s been six months since I’ve graduated from the MFA program at Lesley University, and I don’t know that I’ve missed anything more than I miss that program.

It’s not just the program. It’s not just the fact that I got to spend time in Boston. It was the community. The writing community. The mentors. The education. I miss all of it. Most of all, I miss my WFYP friends, and I miss the encouragement and feedback. That sort of thing, it’s hard to come by now.

Residency is going on at Lesley right now. This is the first time (excluding last January, when I was snowed into Milwaukee for a week and had to miss residency) that I won’t be there in two years. I’m not going to lie. It feels weird. There’s an odd amalgamation of feelings, really. Some relief. A little joy. Mostly a feeling of profound sadness because I’m not there to partake in any of it. I’m not there to get the feedback I still need.

I feel like an addict without her drug. I know others have this feeling, too. I don’t know how they’re coping, but I hope they’re better at it than I am. This is hard and I feel a bit lost at the moment. I know I need to write, and I’m going to. Going at it alone is like walking through a fog, not knowing where you’ll end up. That uncertainty is a frightening thing, it really is.

I need a kickstart. But where do I find one?