Week 19: Reflections as Writer-in-Residence

My final week officially registered as Writer-in-Residence for Interlochen Arts Academy seemed largely uneventful. I’m not accustomed to teaching students I’ll never see again. The four-day Festival concluding the year—full of dozens of performances, Honors Convocation, and Commencement—made me proud to be a member of the Interlochen faculty, but it also felt disorienting. I didn’t know the students nearly as well as the other faculty members do. I spent my time packing, grading, and reading, appearing only here and there for key performances and my required cap and gown events.
The only other boarding school experience I had to compare this to involved teaching and living with my students in a very close, intimate setting. I knew some of my students from that school more deeply after 4 weeks than I know some of my Interlochen students after 5 months. I knew their families as well.
This is all indicative of what life is probably going to be like living on the road for two years. I’ll do the best I can and get to know the land and the people with what time I have, and then be on my way (or, in this case, the students are on their way before I am).
For now, I have 3 weeks off and I probably need it. I found some moments of this past week spiritually exhausting as a teacher and I’d like to get refreshed before coming back to teach two 3-week sessions for Summer Arts Camp. Tomorrow, the filmmaker and I drive to Pennsylvania, then to Providence, Rhode Island the day after that. We’ll take a day or two there, then say farewell. He stays behind to teach at RISD while I head to Connecticut for my cousin’s high school graduation. Then down to Richmond, Virginia for another graduation. When it’s all said and done, I will have driven 2,000 miles in my car, ridden another 700 in my parents’ car, spent 8 hours on an Amtrak train, and crossed the Canadian border at Niagara Falls.
Can anyone say summer road trip? Here I come!

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