The first love letter I ever wrote was in Kindergarten to a boy I won’t name (because I’m friends with his wife on Facebook). I wrote some in high school, to a high school sweetheart. By the time I was in grad school, and met my husband, I was too cool for love letters. I knew so much about myself that a couple scratches on a napkin or the back of a receipt would suffice. I didn’t need to write long, scrawling pleas for love and for attention. I had met my match, and he knew I loved him, so I didn’t need to write a big fat love letter sealed with a kiss. I could draw a heart on his hand and call it a day.
When I imagine writing love letters–the type that declare love–the instinct, for me, is a need to confess it or lose it.
This is my love letter to Goddard, to the faculty, to the process (a process I “trust”), to the program that has sustained and nurtured my creative addiction for the past two years.
Goddard, I don’t want to lose you. (“you”= the faculty and the students who come with the same love in mind, a shared goal of seeking humanity, of living the creative life, and the history, the place that wraps its arms around all of us.) And the good thing is that education is not possessive, monogamous, closed-hearted, or self-seeking. Goddard, especially, is none of those things.
Goddard, writers everywhere and anywhere cannot afford to lose you. Your students recognize that the program requires sacrifice–a magnificent sacrifice of fear and doubt that sits in the gut of every writer–and every human!– and gives back something so big there isn’t a word for it, this new way of learning and teaching and being. It makes this creative life possible.
For what it’s worth to the administration: understand what’s at stake for the students and faculty of all the Goddard programs to live and eat and breathe the practice of teaching and learning. It’s the most fundamental and fulfilling of human exchange.
There is no number you can put on what comes in and goes out of these residencies.
We stand together as teachers and students.