Day 15 VCCA: Visiting Sweet Briar College

I gave a guest lecture at Sweet Briar College last week to two classrooms of freshman English students. Or maybe I should say freshwomen, since it is, after all, an all-girls school. In either case, strolling the lovely grounds of the Sweet Briar campus (which is just one mile across the highway from VCCA) sure took me back to my days as an undergraduate at Whitman College.

What is it about tall buildings with presumptuous yet inviting entrances? About rolling, fertilized, green hills and excellently placed deciduous trees? Rows of bicycles and campus trash and recycling bins, bulletin boards busting with announcements and flyers? It all conjures opportunity, to my nostalgic eye, and meeting the inquisitive students only helped reinforce my view.

I was there to teach about flash fiction, a genre I’ve published in and lectured about and published authors of many times before and one that–despite my recent addiction to longer works of fiction–still holds my heart. What can I say? It’s just so darn fun to write!

As an undergrad, I had my fair share of being loud and rowdy, but I also sought out places on campus for their quiet. The top floor of Penrose Library, when its renovations finally finished my senior year, became such a place. If I were at Sweet Briar now, maybe it would be this lakeside view. I might actually get something done while enjoying the fall colors, highlighter in hand. Might even stare at lovely reflections on water and think to myself, Oh, the places you’ll go…

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