MFA Nugget: New Year’s Tradition

MONTPELIER, VERMONT: I’m going to depart a bit from my daily routine of writing instruction highlights from my residency here at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Last night I witnessed an annual celebration here in Montpelier, the tiny capital of Vermont. Hundreds of VCFA students joined with locals on the campus quad to launch 300 Thai lanterns. Essentially tall paper bags with a lit propellent beneath them, once filled with hot air the lanterns glide up into the sky, creating what appears to be an underwater world of pulsating jellyfish.

Some of the great writers here at VCFA could capture the experience fully in words. I’ll share it with you via the short film I took with my HTC Evo. Enjoy!

ABOUT THIS SERIES: As promised, I am posting occasional “nuggets” of wisdom I am acquiring here at my second residency in the MFA for Writing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Previous posts include “Illuminating Your Story,” “A Window on Your Narrator,” and “Creativity and Wasting Time.”

17 thoughts on “MFA Nugget: New Year’s Tradition

  1. Kathryn Veal

    This is one of the most joyous and magical spectacles I’ve seen…and I love its simplicity. What a lovely way to experience community at the start of a new year.

    Happy New Year, Patrick!


    1. Yes, it’s simplicity was moving. No announcements were made. Everyone just gathered in a circle, like the Who’s down in Whoville, and up they went.

      Happy New Year to you too, Kathryn! I’ll see you when I get back!


  2. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing! Now I’m just wondering why in the heck I don’t remember this from my winter residencies. Geez, I kind of go off into a whole other world when I’m at residency, but I must have been really out of it to miss this tradition! Thanks for sharing it with me now!


    1. Hi Sion! You know, I’m told this is the first year they did it from the campus quad, although I’m not sure about that. I think in years past they’ve done it from downtown. Glad you liked it, and Happy New Year!


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  4. When did this beautiful event come into being? I was there as a grad assistant in 2009 and we didn’t do it; graduated in 2004 and we didn’t do it. I want to do it!!!! It seems like a wonderful “tradition” to have started. Who started it? Props to them!!!


    1. Hi Carol! That’s interesting to hear it wasn’t done in 2009. What I’m told is that it was a tradition in Montpelier before but this year moved to the campus quad. There seems to be a lot of confusion on this point, but I’m glad I got to witness it!


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