Hello, friends. Last week, I spent two nights at Small Pond Arts, an artists’ residency in rural Prince Edward County, Ontario. It was all I’d hoped for and more besides.
I walked, I practised yoga, I shared meals and fascinating conversations with other artists. But mostly, I did this:
I wrote about 7000 words while I was there. More significantly, I mapped out and began Part 3 of Monsoon Season and (partly) figured out how to prune Part 1. For me, typically a slow writer, that is stupendous progress. Not only did I do the equivalent of about two weeks’ work while I was there, but I can now see the end of this novel. I have a real sense of conviction that I can finish it, will do so in the not too crazily distant future, and that the story will cohere.
If you’re curious, here’s a bit more about residencies at Small Pond. (Full disclosure: I paid for my residency and am not being compensated in any way to talk about it.) Krista and Milé are warm hosts, practising artists and lively conversationalists. The meals are great: having someone else make lunch and dinner for you is such a gift. And gathering around the table with artists working in other disciplines – painting, theatre, sculpture and animation during my short stay – makes for terrific conversation. I didn’t expect to be so delighted and engaged outside my work, but I was.
Last week was the first time I’ve stepped outside the routines of my daily life in order to write, and you guys? The hype is not hype. The cliché exists for a reason. The experience is transformative and miraculous and alchemical. If it is at all possible, you should go go go go go.