Archive for October, 2012

This past week I’ve been at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a colony for writers, artists and composers.  What an amazing experience!  Ten days — 240 glorious hours — to write, think, read and daydream.

Writing patio behind the Studio Barn. Smells like rosemary.

But now that I’m sitting down to write about it, I hesitate.  Not because it’s some big secret, but because not a lot happens on a residency — nothing external, anyway.  There was a meteor shower.  Someone carved some pumpkins.  A poet tipped me off to a nearby roadside barbeque stand and I ate a really intense pulled pork sandwich.  A filmmaker played classical guitar in the evenings.  One artist showed work from her loom, another intricate sculptures made from sticks, another collage, another prints, another huge paper drawings on a wall.  One of the horses tipped over his water trough.  The resident groundhog ate a bunch of greens and then ran away in ripples like a shaken fur rug.

Most of the things that “happen” on a residency are (more…)


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Around three o’clock this afternoon I posted a question on Facebook:

How long CAN you fool around on the Internet before settling down to work?

The answer is (unsurprisingly) quite a while.

At first I was groaning that I had spent so much time poking around online, but then I decided to rename this rudderless surfing “intellectual puttering.”  I haven’t done any formal reading or research, but I’ve learned quite a lot of stuff.  For example:

  • In other news, I also learned that conjoined twins Chang and Eng married a pair of sisters and, evidently, had quite a lot of (more…)

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Ten years ago today the DC snipers were arrested after three long weeks of shooting and fear.

“Memento Mori” is an essay I started during those three uncertain weeks, and I’m so happy to see it at Propeller Quarterly today — ten years later!

“Memento Mori.” At http://www.propellermag.com.

You can read the essay by clicking here.



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Alas, another missed meteor shower.

Orionid meteor shower. From huffingtonpost.com.

I suppose I should forgive myself — as the mother of 20-month-old twins, sleep is a precious and often unpossessed commodity.

If the showers had been any earlier – peaking at 10pm, say, instead of after midnight — we might have had a chance with each other.  But instead I was fast asleep by midnight, and when I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning, a good hour before dawn, with plenty of time to go outside and lie down and look up, I thought, Do you really want to leave this warm and cozy bed and put on all kinds of layers and lie out in the damp grass?  (more…)

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Whenever I travel — and stay for a while — I like to visit the local cemetery.

Christian Aid Society Cemetery. Amherst, Virginia.

I don’t do this for morbid reasons.  I just like to know who’s, well, there.

One of many unknowns.

The first woodland cemetery I saw was the Indian Cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard.  Another was on a former plantation outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  Another was the slave cemetery on the campus of Sweetbriar College.  These woodsy cemeteries are much wilder than the newer, more carefully manicured, golf-course-like cemeteries in, say, suburban New Jersey.  But somehow (more…)

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I’ve been working working working so hard lately that I haven’t had time to write a post.  However, some of my earlier hard work has paid off!

Later this month I’ll have an essay in Propeller.  Meanwhile, you can read these excellent offerings from their fall issue:

St. Elmo’s Fire. Did we ever really wear anything even close to that? From propellermag.com.

Then, in November, (more…)

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I’ve been preoccupied lately with thoughts about writers colonies.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

I’m going to a writers colony later this fall.  I’ve been making lists of things to bring and looking at lists of things I brought to colonies in the past, and then I started reading old journal entries and making stacks of books to pack, and then I started to read bits from those books and then I began finding things online to read like this terrific essay by Alexander Chee about the necessity of artists colonies.  It’s called “Go Away.”

Here are a few highlights:

I had organized my life so that writing was most important—but it wasn’t enough. I needed a particle accelerator, a mystical device I could use to step inside another world and finish the novel and return … (more…)

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