It's been an embarrassment of riches for me lately. I received the VCCA residency last August, and since then, I'm happy to say that I have been awarded two more residencies.
First, in March, I'll be in residence at the Playa Fellowship Residency Program in Summer Lake, Oregon. It looks like an exquisitely beautiful place. Located in south central Oregon, and apparently quite remote, it sits on the edge of a seasonal lake that is quite shallow in the winter and evaporates during the summer. I've loved that western-US high desert landscape ever since I was a kid, and I'm very excited to spend so much time immersed in it. I'm planning on flying into Portland a few days before I'm supposed to be at Playa, so if you're in Portland, let me know, and let's hang out.
Second, in May, I'll be in residence at the Brush Creek Arts Foundation in Saratoga, Wyoming. Again, Brush Creek looks amazing, and more high desert for me! I love it. I'm very excited. Brush Creek is an old ranch that has been transformed into a resort with space for artists to be in residence. It's on the edge of Medicine Bow National Forest, and apparently, there's lot of cross country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and that sort of thing. I'll be there finishing The Accountant, but I probably won't be able to resist taking some breaks to go hiking, biking, etc. I'll be flying into Denver a few days before I'm supposed to be at BC, so again, if you're in Denver, let me know, and let's hang.
Lastly, I'm also very happy to say that I won a 2014/15 Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council! I'm very excited about that as well; it's great to get some hometown love. Durham is a great town, and I feel lucky that I landed here. The arts council does a great job of fostering local artists; many thank yous to the DAC.
So speaking of all these such things, people frequently ask me what these residencies are and how I found them / got them. So first of all, w/r/t the three residencies I've received, they are all pretty similar. Each of the residencies provides me with a private room and studio and very few obligations. In essence, time and space. At each of my residences, there will be several other artists, writers, composers, creators also in residence. I don't yet know who those people will be. Some of the residencies will provide me with three meals a day (sweet), while at others, I'll have to feed myself (sweet in a different way.)
So that's the logistics in a nutshell. Some of the residencies will include some public events, but those will be pretty minimal, so really, the idea is that I'm (or anyone) going to go to these places and spend concentrated time working on my art; it my case that will be my novel The Accountant.
These will be my first residencies, and I'm very excited about them. I've realized over the last couple years working on the novel, that for me, novel writing and poetry writing are pretty different. When I'm writing poems, I can work in much more sporadic, unpredictable chunks of time. To complete the novel, I've really had to dedicate very regular and steady amounts of time to the writing. I've also needed to dedicate larger chunks of time. Sometimes I can write or revise a draft of a poem in 30 minutes. To read through, think about, and then revise a 350 page novel, I need way more time than 30 minutes.
I've largely been able to create the quantities of time I need to work effectively on the novel, but I'm very excited to have the opportunity at these residences to have 3, 4, 5 hour chunks of time where I'm just immersed really deeply in the novel. And not just to have those large chunks of time, but to have that amount of time for 30 or so days straight. It's a little daunting, but also very exciting. I feel pretty confident that I'll make good use of the time.
As for where I found most of these opportunities, the New York Foundation for the Arts site has a really incredible and searchable database of international artist opportunities, grants, residencies, and more. And it's free to boot.
So that's the jist of the residency situation. I plan on blogging about my experiences at the residencies, so check back here if you want to find out how they're going.
And lastly, thanks very much, again and again, to the Durham Arts Council, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Playa Fellowship Residency Program, and Brush Creek Arts Foundation.