It’s a funny thing to go home for the holidays, only to come back home for college. How can this be? It depends on one’s definition of home. Mine is anywhere I can leave and know that I’ll be able to return, a place where I’m welcome, and a place that’s healthy. That’s what my apartment in Prescott feels like. Yes, the kitchen sink is clogged, but it’s still my kitchen sink. It’s the one kitchen sink in the whole world that loves me above all others.
Prescott tends to be very comfortable. Not completing assignments on time is uncomfortable, and it gets kind of cold at night, but otherwise, it’s like a big, broken in couch. I was anxious to come back. Going home reminded me of why I came here in the first place: to surround myself with calm and stability so that I can actually study what I’m trying to learn. Before I decided to come here, I couldn’t imagine choosing a college outside of the New York metro. The truth is, in NYC I would never have gotten anything done but get myself into trouble. I came instead to a beautiful resort town surrounded by mountains and national forest in the high desert. This was, in the words of my grandmother, a wise decision. I agree.
It’s my belief that many of the students here came for similar reasons. This is a place of focus, and the college community leaves me without want of sociality. Every morning this block, I’ve been sitting in a big circle of chairs, composed of the instructor, thirteen other students, and me. We’ve been reading Woolf and Orwell, and lesser-known writers such as Judy Blunt, John McPhee, and Ian Frazier. The class is Sense of Place: A Writing and Reading Workshop. Next week, we’ll be traveling to Agua Fria National Monument—about an hour away by van—to spend four hours writing in the open air. Our instructor was a Truman Capote Literary Trust fellow to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned his MFA. It’s brilliant to know that the man teaching my class has studied writing with some of the most promising young writers in America. The students studying with me are also no disappointment. Reading aloud pieces they’ve written during ten-minute in-class nonfiction exercises, they have astonished me with both their talent and their lived experience. I look forward to reading the work they’ll spend hours writing.
I have no desire to go back to New England right now. Don’t get me wrong; I love my friends and family dearly, but for the next few months, I’m all Arizona.
-Estin Vogel, 01.13.2012