“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.” - Isak Dinesen
I've arrived at Seaside for the last time. The entire trip out was bittersweet.... the last time on the airplane alone. The last time to arrive in Portland. The last check-in at the Rivertides hotel. The last residency packet, which was, without the semester handbook, list of due dates, models for residency reviews and semester study plans, shockingly thin.
There is a huge absence of friends. Friends that have already graduated and friends taking a semester off to pursue other opportunities. It'd be easy to get sad about that. But there were other great things, like seeing the amazing friends that did show up, all of us gathering in the lobby for cocktail hour and sitting around like old dear friends catching up and laughing, our group growing as others trickled in from their own trips over the pass.
I'm both ready to be done, and very not ready. I suppose that's normal.
Yesterday was our first day of classes and I went to all of them, even though I'm not required to anymore. Heck, this is my last chance to soak up every morsel of learning I can, and I'm not about to let that slip away.
I was thrilled that, as I took notes, I was still thinking, "I know exactly where to implement this!" Just like every other residency, I wanted to run out of class, open up a story and revise it. There is never a shortage of things to learn, and just this day reinforced how much I've gotten from this program. Am I a better writer? I'd like to think so, but here among great writers, with so much information still being thrown at me, I see how much I still don't know, how much I still want to learn, how much I still need to write and grow.
Maybe I will never be as good as I want to be. That's a good thing, I guess.
Today I present my thesis to a room full of people. I haven't been nervous, but I woke this morning with a churning stomach. I've gone over my speech so much I am bored by it. I've revised the piece I'm reading so much I can barely stand to rehearse it.
I fear, of course, I'm still not good enough. That I'm not worthy of this place behind the podium, of the degree, to be with all the people here who startle me with their talent.
But here I am anyway. I can hardly believe it. What a journey it's been.