MFA Program: Dear Southampton, Love Manhattan by Patrick Dunn

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ll admit that things would be a lot easier if we didn’t get along too well. Less complicated, really. And if I’m being honest, that’s what I thought would happen. I mean, I thought we’d have our five days of fun—our Summer Session 1—and I’d get back on the train to Brooklyn without wondering what you thought of me.

Here’s the thing: I take all of my MFA classes in Manhattan—seventeen credits so far. I’ve figured out the rhythm of riding the N train to 23rd Street, walking to 27th, taking the elevator to the 3rd floor, saying hello to George, workshopping a few pieces while staring at the Empire State Building, and going home. I’ve learned a lot about my own writing over the past year, and I’ve tried to become as much a part of “the program” as possible. I also managed to fend off the constant questions about my summer attendance with my usual vague silence.

In the end, I decided to pay you a visit, Southampton. Three credits in five days sounded like a good deal, and though I like the city, I don’t love the city. A chance to get out is always a welcomed break. Like I said, I thought we’d have our fun. But fun wasn’t good enough for you. You had to wear me down and withhold sleep, only so you could pick me up, give me too much coffee, then a few beers, and convince me that it was all for the greater good of my artistic character. Of course, you were right. You just needed to get my attention; you knew what I needed, and I didn’t know what I was missing. The whole thing felt like an initiation to a secret society or a support group for mildly dysfunctional artists. Or maybe just a welcoming family.

All I’m really trying to say, Southampton, is that you turned out to be much more than I expected. You are a community of inspiration, and I’m lucky that you’d consider me one of your own. Thank you.

-Patrick Dunn –

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