Thursday, July 2, 2009
One Month Later--thoughts on residency's end
It's hard to take in that now I am one day away from the end of this residency. It's been an odyssey in many ways. The chance to be a writer for a month has provided a window into the value of unencumbered time to focus on one's creative life. I have been able to focus on a book length manuscript; to get feedback from the two Visiting Writers this month at Vermont Studio Center; to write some fiction; to revisit an old journal entry and turn it into a read aloud story; to collaborate with Alice Pedroletti, an amazing photographer from Milan, which included writing "Sentences for Pictures" (which turned out to be sort of like poetry) and creating a murder mystery for the last night's open studios; and to read part of my interview based manuscript aloud with one of the other writers. This has energized me and I feel I am leaving with a desire to go home and continue with the rhythms established here.
There has also been a great deal of socializing this week, including open studios, the last writers reading (where I did my own reading and slide presentation), and last night's bonfire. The bonfires are sort of a VSC tradition, and we lucked out with the only night of no rain in awhile. It has rained A LOT since I've been here, but it's not cold. It's been a reminder of how dry California is, and what it is like to live in a green state. My eyes don't burn or tear, the water tastes good, and my skin is perfect. Hmmm.
Some of the highlights of this past week are posted below.
The growing play among us. This was before one of the evening events. Alice (left) and Danielle, wearing tiaras.
I know, you had to be there...
The last resident reading: my approach was a departure from the other writers, as I chose to read one of the interviews with another writer, but had him be me and I read the part of the artist I interviewed. I wanted to see what the experience of being interviewed by me is like. It was interesting and fun, and the audience really really liked it.
It has been remarkable, though not entirely surprising, to find out how little people outside the Western US know about art in California. And, how little most artists and writers of all sorts know about Conceptual Art in general. The general enthusiasm about the art and the interview we read part of (in the allotted 10 minutes) has opened up a lot of conversation about it since that time. Stay tuned for more on this. (the person reading with me is writer Tom Andes).
Last night's open studios culminated in a huge party and bonfire. It was one of the only nights in the last month that it wasn't either boiling hot, or raining. It's rained close to every day we've been here. It is, however, what makes the state of Vermont very green.
I realize this picture doesn't seem to have much to do with the rain or the green state. But watching and listening to it is a kind of portrait of this place, at the end of 4 weeks. Social sculpture.
Here's a preview of a detail of the work of Charles Steckler, who has asked me to write about his work for a catalog. I'll be writing more soon about the artists and writers I'm met at VSC. It's been great to meet a new group of creative people, especially because I like their thinking and its outcomes.
Speaking of outcomes, in case you're wondering what happened to the road construction, here's the new road, which was laid yesterday. Because the new road that goes over the temporary bridge runs right in front of the writers building--about 20 yards away--it was amazing to get right next to it, even when it was still hot. There seemed to be no concern that we were all right at the edge of it, watching the street get laid down. Not like where I come from !
It is with some sadness that I must say goodbye to this place. Yet, as always in life, I also get to bring back those stories to share, and all the good creative energy and ideas.
This picture is to give you the "real" picture of how I spent my time here--or at least part of it!
And last, but not least, a studio self-portrait.