I came across some disturbing rumors that my old college is going to make significant cute to its creative writing department. My first reaction was to google it to see if there was any truth behind the rumors and it appears there is. like every other school, vassar is losing endowment money due to the economy. (i'm sure even harvard is having to cut back, but hey, i'd probably endorse that). My second reaction was to email an old favorite professor, now co-chair of the english department, to see if he could tell me a bit of what is going on. Most of all I'm shocked that the English Dept. did not notify alumnae...at least, I am pretty certain they did not, though I do sometimes miss an email.
Vassar is the place that formed me as a writer. Not the school where I received my masters. Not the countless days and hours writing in cafes or with fellow writers or alone at home. Sure, all of it helps. All of it forms the writer and all of it feeds the writer.
I chose to attend Vassar because I wanted to go to a school with a strong focus on English and writing. I was a high school geek. I worked on the lit mag. In college I built strong relationships with several faculty members, and I began to take my craft seriously. From there my life followed on its plan: spend a year or so working, go somewhere and get an MFA. That is what I did, and though there is nothing more invigorating than talking about writing in a room full of writers, it does not pay the bills or change the oil in the car, so I found myself having to get a career. Hence the cooking gig.
I'm researching the truth behind these rumors in the hopes I'll be proven wrong, but I doubt it. Times are tough everywhere. Academics is a luxury lifestyle, wherein each generation creates the next generation so the academy can be self sustaining. The trouble with writing, though, is that the classroom isn't our only classroom. Every face, every darkened door, every half-heard conversation is our classroom and in order to contribute to the growth of ourselves or of the next generation we have to go off alone and discover what we know, what we can say, and how we can share it.
I'll be blogging on here and at Fringe on what I discover.