I am sitting in the window seat of a sunny apartment that isn’t mine. The birds that woke me up at 5 am are still chirping, the sun is only just shining again, and the night ahead is yawning wide with the promise of WaterFire and Del’s frozen lemonade.

Despite months and months of planning and a week of assimilating, how very odd it is to find myself here. In Providence. On the cusp of a summer program and getting shaky with nerves. When the tables are turned and I become the student instead of the teacher, I’m equal parts thrilled and terrified. I’ve been there before and I know I can do it, but I’m still scared. I’m still daunted. But come Monday morning, I know I’ll be in that studio early, fidgeting with my pencils and telling the teacher, “Actually, I go by Sally,” when the roll is called — a first day of school ritual that naggingly persists to this day. I’ll tuck in and show up and make mistakes and hopefully learn something. I’ll do it because I love making art more than I fear everything that comes with it.

The next six weeks will see me studying Children’s Book Illustration at RISD. And no matter how many times I read the course description, I have no idea what it will look like. I can only hope. Hope I learn something. Hope I improve. Hope I find joy in the making. Hope I don’t sink under a mountain of work. Hope I make a friend. Hope the teacher likes me. Hope I still have time to meet my sister for lunch on studio days or any old day. Hope I find room for adventure and all the messy rest. Hope I pass. Hope, hope, hope. Jiminy Cricket! What a privilege it is to have so very much to hope for!

I’ll finish with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s thunderous Big Magic, which I’ve just finished listening to for the second time. “Put yourself forward in stubborn good cheer and then do it again and again and again.” Yes. That. I’ll do that.

Ever onward, xoxo, etc,