confessions / freakouts / memories / writing

What You Love

It would never have occurred to me, years after graduating college, that the place would mean as much to me as it does now. College was good, sure, but I had always thought that graduate school was where my real-life happiness began, where I wrote fiction full-time, where I edited the journal, when e came to nyc to be with me. I was so intensely happy then. But if I learned that the Columbia University School of the Arts was closing tomorrow, I would not be devastated. Oh well, I’d think. They should have charged less money. Among other criticisms I won’t go into here.

Not so Antioch. This experience of the summer, watching all the incredible alumni work hard to save the school—I admire them so much, and, e, I count you as one of them: you are amazing for everything you did with the websites—seeing the students on campus (talk about amazing!)—and more, I won’t go on—has brought up this realization in me. I love that school. I wanted out so badly my last year there, holing myself up in the darkroom, ignoring parties, fantasizing about leaving the small town for the big city… and now look. I cried when I thought the school was closing. Cried. It’s not like I go there anymore or work there or ever visited. Its closing really would not have affected me personally. Even so, my heart was broken.

You should have seen me yesterday. I guess my post shows a little of this. But I was at my weekend writing spot, where no talking is allowed, when I had my earbuds in and started listening to the meeting on campus where the announcement was about to be made. Someone was streaming live audio from the meeting (thank you!). When I heard the school would stay open I exploded in my chair. I was overjoyed. I was silently cheering, my arms waving, looking like a fool, I’m sure, to any writers who may have seen me. It was one of the happiest moments I can remember in a good long time. [EDIT: Though, I must say, news that is now coming to light is making me very, very nervous.]

It’s funny when you realize you love something more than you ever thought you would, or could. This caught me off-guard. What else do I love this much, hiding deep in me until dire events bring it out? I wonder…

One thought on “What You Love

  1. Reading this made me feel a little weird- in a good way, mind you!
    I never expected to love it that much, either, especially in the midst of its problems, issues, drama, and recurrent annoyances that are so very Antioch-specific that they’re impossible to explain to anyone else. When I try to articulate it, I sound like one of those ragged old poorly-written Vietnam Vets in movies: “You don’t know, man. I’ve seen things. With my EYES…”
    But in the end, it *is* a special place. It is a vital and precious place for certain kinds of folks, and not only folk like you, e and me. It happens pretty often that I am looking around me at all the people on the Chicago streets. I see one person in the crowd that I get this little tingle about and think: “that person right there should check out Antioch.” Every single time, that person is different from the last.
    That makes it not only worth saving, but worth loving right there.

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