I am a Master!

My reading

Hello friends,

A quick note from the States. I’m slowly emerging from the wonderful writerly bubble at Vermont College where I just spent an amazing 10 days attending lectures, readings, and workshops, as well as sinking deep into stimulating and silly, passionate and profound conversations with a variety of gifted folks. What fun! I delivered my talk on James Baldwin’s time in Paris and read from my novel-in-progress before a packed house.

And as of a few days ago, I am now a master! I’m not sure exactly what “rights and privileges” the MFA actually confers (I had to hold back a chuckle at the graduation ceremony when they said this), but I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to have been part of such a vibrant, creative community.

The fullest rainbow I've ever seen. Ephemeral and perfect, it appeared over College Hall.

My favorite part about this residency was hearing the work of my fellow classmates; we’re a talented lot, if I do say so myself.

It’s difficult to adequately describe what an incredible experience it’s all been. Time seems almost to stop while I’m at residency. I go offline and plunge completely into the creative world. As writers, we work in solitude. This time to socialize with people who understand what it’s like to carve out a life that gives primacy to this most mysterious of endeavors is precious.

I am happy/sad right now. Another milestone, a sense of accomplishment. But boy will I miss these escapes to Montpelier, where wordsmiths welcome each other with big hugs, fresh inspiration, and affirmation that the worlds we create on the page are every bit as vital and real as the “real” world around us.

After the ceremony. Photo by Lené Gary.

The MFA is a terminal degree. While I’m not thinking of teaching – at least, not any time soon – I was thrilled to have a short post over on the blog Teaching Authors recently. In it, I discuss how writing a novel is like stumbling around a dark house. Enjoy!

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34 Responses to “I am a Master!”


  1. 1 Marge Anderson July 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Loved reading your recent post regarding your graduation! Congratulations,Sion. You should be very proud of yourself!
    Know you will be with Danya’s family and your mom this weekend. What lovely way to celebrate!

  2. 3 Lindsey July 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Congratulations!!!!! You should feel proud of yourself and that mix of happiness and sadness is totally normal after dedicating your emotional resources toward this program for so long. Bravo!!

    • 4 paris (im)perfect July 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Lindsey! Yes, obviously a lot of emotions whenever we get to the end of something (and of course, it also means the beginning of something new). The sadness is felt most fully when I think of all of the amazing people I met through the program and that I will no longer get to come to these “gathering of the tribes” anymore. But I’ve made some amazing connections and I know they’ll continue to grow in the future.

  3. 5 Amy Kortuem July 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Congratulations, Sion! I am a writer working on her first book, too (memoir/nonfiction), so I can appreciate not only your great accomplishment with your MFA but also the struggles you talked about in your guest post. I’m very much looking forward to reading you “in print” soon!

    Enjoy the down-time of assimilating everything you’ve experienced post-graduation. Treat yourself, too.

  4. 7 Greig Sargeant July 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Sion – So very happy for you. Congrats on the MFA. Hope to see you one of these days.

    Much Love,

    Greig Sargeant

  5. 9 Oneika the Traveller July 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Congrats, lady!!! So happy for your accomplishment! I will soon be a Master- only one more week of classes for me!
    Where are you now? When are you back to Paris???? Looking forward to reading your guest post! xo

    • 10 paris (im)perfect July 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks, Oneika! Congrats to you on your soon-to-be master status, too!

      I’m in DC right now with my sister and her family. My mom’s coming up from NC, too! I’ll be back in Paris by mid-July. Really enjoying my time in the States while I’m here!

  6. 11 adamssister July 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    HOORAY! and congratulations!

  7. 13 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) July 9, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Many, many congratulations to you, Sion! I am so excited this event has come to pass in your life. :) While you have accomplished this particular goal in life and marked this milestone, and naturally have some sadness that it is over, I hope it is the beginning of a long and illustrious career in the arts, specifically writing! May what wonderfulness you experienced here only be the start of many great things to come. See you back in Paris soon. In the meantime, keep living it up in the US of A!

  8. 16 Devin July 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I’m so happy for you, Sion. Your words about how it feels to exist for so long in solitude, then to emerge into the company of people who understand and care what the whole thing is about — I’ve never seen it put so eloquently. I hope one day soon Kathy and I can talk with you about the writer’s life in some little cafe under the lights of Paris. Meanwhile, take a roll in the glory!

  9. 18 e July 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Enjoy every moment as you celebrate, Sion…Congratulations.

  10. 20 Rigmarole July 9, 2011 at 1:59 am

    It was such a pleasure to share this experience with you. I miss you already!!!
    I can’t help but notice the halo around your head in the photo of your reading and the juxtaposition with the male white patriarchy portrait that you outshine.

    I love your work. I love you!

    Paris, fall 2011!!!

    • 21 paris (im)perfect July 9, 2011 at 2:37 am

      Aw, I miss you so much, too, Jodi. I am *so* glad, so grateful to have shared this experience with you. I hope we will continue sharing our work, our efforts, our trials and more laughter in the future. We can also continue the mutual admiration society. Can’t wait to see your linked story collection out in the world. I love your work and love you, too.

      Paris 2011 – *definitely!*

  11. 23 Linda July 9, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Congratulations, kiddo! Well done!

  12. 24 Buffy July 9, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Congratulation’s! There will be many more milestones you will reach in the future. Half the fun, and fulfilment is reaching them.

  13. 25 Ann July 9, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Congratulations, Sion! I am so thrilled for you! And I can’t wait to read the fruits of your labor in the not too distant (I hope) future.

  14. 26 Julianna July 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Whoo – hoo!! Congratulations Sion! You possess something that can never be taken from you, and I have to admit I am a bit jealous, but in a good way. Best of luck to you.

  15. 27 Carolyn Solares July 10, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Congratulations, Sion! So happy that you thought to share this on your blog. As always, I look forward to your continued posts–and eagerly await your novel.

  16. 28 Stephanie July 10, 2011 at 3:25 am

    A big beautiful congratulations to you, Sion! Love hearing that you’re happily surrounding yourself by those who understand your passion and purpose. There is something very special about that! Best of luck and I look forward to reading your published works as they become available. Congratulations mille fois!

  17. 29 paris (im)perfect July 10, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Thanks everyone for your warm wishes and congratulations! I appreciate it so much!

  18. 30 Sweet Freak July 11, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Look at you! Gorgeous! I can only imagine the crazy stew of happy-sad-exhilarated-depleted-confident-shaky feelings right now. But just relish this special time and major accomplishment – c’est magnifique! xo

  19. 31 Opal July 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

    C o n g r a t s!!!

  20. 32 Lady Dee July 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Congratulations! A Master, eh? I hope you have your whip. As Truman Capote once said: “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely.”

  21. 34 Patrick Ross July 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    How fortunate I feel to have been in the hall watching you graduate and to hear your Baldwin lecture. I’m very happy for you, Sion, kudos and congrats. I hope to be on that stage in two years.

    I like what you said about enjoying most hearing the words of others. I heard more readings at that residency than I have ever heard in my life. I attended every single student reading and a few graduate readings, along with the faculty and guest writer readings. On some level they now blur together for me, but each one was a gem, particularly the student ones. It was amazing to think I was part of a group that could produce writing like that.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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