Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

I’m Back!

My HogwartsThe latest residency expanded my mind, filled my writing soul with new color. I have learned so much once more, both about writing and about myself. Much of the residency dealt with the inner life of an artist. So, in a way, it wasn’t just Montpelier, VT that I have  traveled to. I visited my own inner landscape.

Some of the big highlights this residency:

— As per a great VCFA tradition, our class (January 2015) announced its name. We are the Darling Assassins!

— I finally had a roommate. And she had been worth waiting for. Despite our uncoordinated sleeping schedules, sharing a room with her gave the residency an extra sparkle. I hope never to inhabit a single dorm room again!

— I was enrolled in a special poetry workshop. We met on the highest floor of the College Hall building (see picture). Up there, at the top of our own “astronomy tower,” my fellow poets and I got to play and generate and go crazy with language, sound, line space, imagery, humor, nature…

— The VCFA sorting hat has done right by me once more. My new rock star advisor for the semester is Shelley Tanaka, a Canadian editor and author. I feel incredibly lucky for this chance to learn from her.

I have some great posts planned for you. Printz Award finalist  Lucy Christopher visited VCFA this residency and talked to us about how she uses landscape to construct her stories. Lucy gave me permission to write about that presentation for you guys here. Not to mention, my list of discoveries is long, once again, and I want to share! But I am going to need a little time. I totally didn’t consider this before — this third semester I have just embarked upon is different. In addition to my regular creative work, I must also work on my critical thesis, a long paper delving deep into an aspect of craft, which is a requirement for graduation and can be a great learning tool. It requires in-depth reading, thinking, planning, research. And guess what? Shelley is expecting the first draft on February 10th!

In addition to all that, I am getting started on a new career, which I am very excited about. (More on that soon, I promise). So, please bear with me.

It’s good to be back, sleeves rolled, ready to go.

One last note: some of the subscribers to this blog might remember my 31-minute challenge campaign last year, where I urged a group of writers to commit to writing every day for at least 31 minutes. I know the challenge worked great for a bunch of you and I am sorry I am just too busy to continue it this year. Obviously, right? 🙂 But one of last year’s participants Dori Stone picked up the campaign and is now trying to get people excited on her new blog. The best part? She is doing it in February instead of January, so there is still time to sign up right here. If the challenge worked well for you before, I hope you consider joining her. Take it away, Dori!


January 23, 2014 - Posted by | Personal Mirror, VCFA Adventures |


  1. You are the best roommate a girl could ever hope for, Katia! Lovely recap. I look forward to the Lucy Christopher post!

    Comment by Anna Craig | January 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Roomie!!! Of course you already know much of this, but it’s great to have you here anyway ❤

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 23, 2014 | Reply

  2. Yay! You’re back! Sounds as if it was a fantastic experience.

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | January 23, 2014 | Reply

  3. Your 31-minute challenge last year got me started on a triple challenge (writing, exercising, and sorting through my too-much-stuff). My success with each has been sporadic, but I’m still keeping track of it.

    Comment by Jody Bilbo Staton | January 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Well, it’s great that you keep trying, Jody. Maybe just focusing on one of the three can help? 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 23, 2014 | Reply

  4. Hope you and Frances come to the poetry reading at Barnegat Library on Tuesday Jan 28 at 7 pm

    Comment by ktz5@comcast.net | January 23, 2014 | Reply

    • I’ll do my best. Really want to be there, thanks for letting me know!

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 23, 2014 | Reply

  5. Welcome back Katia! You sound so happy! I absolutely loved hearing about your adventures at VFCA and can’t wait to get the low-down on the new job. Also, thank you so much for helping spread the word about the Fearless February Challenge. http://doriskstone.weebly.com/blog.html I think it’ll be a blast. Last year your 31 minute 31 day challenge was a godsend and you helped me refocus and reconnect with my writing, This year I felt the need to do it again! I’m still gathering contestants and posters so if anyone wants to write a post or participate in the challenge please let me know.

    Comment by Doris Stone | January 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Wishing you the best with it, Dori! So glad things are coming together.

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 23, 2014 | Reply

  6. This all sounds awesome. I love the name of your class. Lucy Christopher…her writing is amazing. I can’t wait to hear more.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | January 24, 2014 | Reply

    • Thank you, Medeia. I fell in love with Lucy’s writing when she read from her books in her super charming British/Australian accent. As for our class name, I am thinking it deserves it probably deserves its own post down the line.

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 24, 2014 | Reply

  7. I’m such a solitary person that I always don’t want roommates but then when I have them I realize what a gift they are. I think I am always afraid they will be incessant talkers.

    Welcome back and all best with the thesis.

    Comment by joycemoyerhostetter | January 24, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks, Joyce. I am afraid I was the incessant talker in our case. Thank God Anna didn’t seem to mind!

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 24, 2014 | Reply

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