D.C. and Writing (Again!): Summer So Far

Hey! After I've been gone for what seems like a while, I just wanted to update you on this summer and everything that's happened. It's been a busy month or so, and I truly feel so lucky to say that I've been able to make so many new friends and memories. 

I started June off with a trip to the U.S. Capitol: Washington, D.C. I'd never been before and as a history geek, I was so pumped to go to a city where history and politics lives in the streets. I went on the Youth Tour 2018, which is basically a group trip to D.C. sponsored by local electric cooperatives across the country. My coop, Pedernales Electric Coop, sent 10 kids from the Austin area for free. We met up with 150 kids from Texas and wandered around D.C.! 

It was a very important trip in a lot of ways - I got to experience D.C. (an incredible city, I can't wait to go back), but I also got to meet a lot of friends from really rural areas of Texas (an experience I'd never had). It was quite a "culture shock." But in the end, I came back with aching feet and the knowledge that we really can be friends with anyone if we only try to understand the other side. 

Then, after being home for a day, I was off again. This time to Iowa for the Iowa Young Writers Studio! If it wasn't for Iowa City's famed literary programs, I don't know if I would have ever set foot in that state. From what I could tell, it quite literally seemed to be the middle-of-nowhere. 

Little did I know how much I'd grow to love the place. Iowa City is a writer's dream: the perfect combination of quiet enough to focus and appreciate the details yet busy enough to keep a mind intrigued. Every school year, it seems, I forget what it's like to be surrounded by writers, to live in that environment for a slice of time. And at camp, I always find myself surprised to be so comfortable in myself, to never feel like I have to prove myself to anyone. 

That's what I loved most about Iowa - the way it shook my hand, told me "I know you're a writer, now go write," and challenged me in so many ways. I wouldn't have written a 16 page story over a weekend for an assignment, and I wouldn't have realized how emotionally draining of a process that can be. But I've returned now knowing that I can write a piece under crunch time, and with new tools to look at stories, I feel so much more sure of myself as a writer. 

Of course, I can't forget the wonderful friends there and all our goofy times - we'll definitely meet again. 

That was June - and after a bit of rest, I'll hopefully be back with more memories from the rest of the summer and more bookish stuff! Still got a whole pile of books to work through :) 

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