Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Vermont College of Fine Arts: The Adventure Begins Today!


Today is the day, my lovely friends. A big suitcase is packed with books, pens and winter gear, and the family are left with detailed instructions on how to survive without me for the next ten days, as this mama writer embarks on an amazing adventure.

Not counting fairytale-like stories and plays I penned as a child, or poems and songs I wrote as a teenager, I have walked in these writing shoes for about ten years now.  (Can’t decide what sorts of shoes they are: suede short boots with heels? Moccasins? Or maybe — simply — a pair of comfy yet sturdy Nike sneakers?)

The beginning of the year 2003 saw me quit my job as a full-time Press of Atlantic City reporter and dedicate my life to watching my then-only child and growing my writing.

That’s what I’ve been doing since then. Writing. Revising. Growing tougher on the outside, softer on the inside. Learning. And now, I’m about to take everything I have learned to new places yet in this huge new way.

official VCFA photo

official VCFA photo

Excited and nervous doesn’t even start to explain the feelings rocking me right now, as I get ready to leave home for my first ten-day Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults residency. I am delirious. Terrified. Content. Superstitious.  Floating.

I have wanted to do this for a long time. I spent years, barely even daring to indulge in wishing this! And suddenly, here I go. Like, how does that even happen?

I married my husband at the age of 19, right out of high school, which turned out to be one of the best (maybe THE best) decisions I’ve ever made, but there was this one thing I’ve missed out on. A small thing. Not a big deal, really. A true campus experience.

I slipped from the loving (if tired) arms of my parents straight to my husband’s. No in-between time. I commuted to college, while living at home and caring for our baby boy when I could. I went to NYU, which has not ever really been a campus, just a bunch of parks and buildings built right into the city. I studied journalism, which was close, but not the real thing.

(Now, the helpless baby boy is 13 — a teenager, a Karate black belt. His little sister is 9.)

I’m going to live on a beautiful, faraway campus in the mountains with a ROOMMATE!!! I will study what I love, what I’ve been already living for the last ten years. I will breathe books and writing. Yeah, it’s only ten days. Ten days is perfect. Ten days is plenty.

I am sorry in advance if my replies to your comments and blog posts get erratic in these next couple of weeks. I will try my best to keep up, amidst the lectures, the readings, the introductions, the advisors, the new friends…Better than that, I want to try and sneak in a blog post or two or three about it all. I want to take you on that journey with me, if you wish to follow along, both during and in between the residencies. But I also want to just enjoy being there, soak it all in…

Please say you understand!!



P.S. Still, I aim to continue writing 31 minutes every day. Thirty-one minutes isn’t much, don’t I always tell you? (I don’t think I’ll be able to do any more than that). So I expect the same from you 31-minute challenge participants!

All right, the kids are waking up. Gotta go boil their water for tea, get their vitamins, pack their lunches. Give them kisses and hugs, tell them to be good. Then it’s time to walk the dog — yes, I will miss you too, my poor baby Lucky, and then — see you later, home!

See you later, Magic Mirror!

See you later, all!


January 9, 2013 - Posted by | Personal Mirror, Writing Mirror | , ,


  1. I understand. This is so dreamy and wonderful. But filled with reality too. I hope you love your roomie. I have a feeling you’ll love everything about this.

    I am amazed you blogged this morning.

    Comment by joycemoyerhostetter | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  2. Way to go!!! Have a great time and learn all you can and have fun!

    Comment by Mary Morrison | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  3. Must be exciting. Best of luck!

    Comment by AH | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  4. Go, Katia! I have the feeling you don’t even need writing shoes. Miss your family (even Lucky) but enjoy every minute of “Katia-time.” Go barefoot and grab your future!

    Comment by Wendy Greenley | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  5. Enjoy your campus experience. I always did. I married at 19 just after finishing my first year of college, got the next 3 commuting from home…not the same! With four teen-aged children, I did my master’s work on campus two summers, with other teachers (we had dinner together at night, fun), then I also enjoyed two writer’s workshops, one 5 days long when I roomed with my principal’s wife, a dear (who now writes on internet).It was so much fun eating, living and breathing writing from the time we awoke until midnight. I enjoyed everyone of those experiences. I’m sure you will, too. Pleae do share with us. We’ll enjoy the vicarious experience. Barbara in N. GA (5 miles from TN)

    Comment by Barbara | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  6. Of course we understand!

    YAY, Katia! Have fun. Drink it all in, and come back refreshed and bubbling over with ideas.

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  7. Have a great time! Sounds like it’s going to be a great adventure!

    Comment by Robin Hutchinson | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  8. Best of luck Katia. I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences and excited that you’re able to embrace your dream. I too went away to school and left my family for a summer. They did well. Of course there were a few challenges, like my husband had to bring our 3 year old to grandma’s to have her hair put into a ponytail. But they survived, their bond strengthened and they loved telling me about the adventures they had.

    Comment by Dori Stone | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  9. This will be a fantastic experience. I’m so happy you’re going.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  10. Enjoy it all Katia, and don’t worry about us 31 minute challengers. Have a wonderful, exhilarating 10 days!
    Can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

    Comment by Maureen | January 11, 2013 | Reply

  11. My best wishes to you and do enjoy Vermont you couldn’t have a more perfect time of year to be there.

    Comment by kathleenbosco | January 11, 2013 | Reply

  12. I hope you have the time of your life. You deserve it.

    Comment by jessica | January 16, 2013 | Reply

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