Posts Tagged ‘VCCA’

Hello, dear Hatchery readers!

My short piece on the ups and downs of being a writing parent, “The View from Here,” is up on Literary Mamma’s “After Page One” series … and you can read it here!

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A friend of mine posted a picture from VCCA and it made me long to be back there.  VCCA stands for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  It’s an artists colony in the middle of Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the more magical places I have ever been to.

The light across the fields at the end of the day.

The evening light across the fields at VCCA.

The first time I went was about this time of year and I wrote about it in an essay I called “Flight” but which The Millions retitled “A Hybrid, Trapped” — they published it earlier this month and (more…)

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At last!  My piece, “Fluttering at the Margins,” is up on HER KIND, A BLOG POWERED BY VIDA: WOMEN IN LITERARY ARTS.  It’s about twins and bats and writing and parenting and biography and Facebook and becoming an essayist and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

It’s the piece I read at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts last month:

Me reading at VCCA. Costarring: CHEEZ-ITS!  (Photo by Mary Akers.)

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My last post was about being on a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  But I’ve been home for a week now and it’s time to get back into my usual routine.

Back to “old clothes and porridge.” And dishes you have to wash yourself …

Time at an artists’ colony is so fluid.  And your surroundings there are so stable.  If you put a cup down on your desk it will stay there until you pick it up.  (Although when you take a dirty plate to the kitchen and put it down, the next day it will appear clean in a new stack!)

But now time is regimented by the twins’ demands.  Up, play, eat, play, walk, eat, nap, eat, play, walk, play, eat, play, walk, play, eat, bed.  It sounds so simple in a list of one-syllable words.  (See “Morning as a 14-month-old twin” for how busy all this actually is!)  And now if you put something down and it’s within reach of tiny hands, who knows where — or when — it might next appear?

I haven’t written much this first week back — I’ve reverted to something like survival mode.  On my list of things to do each day instead of “revise X” or “submit to Y” I see (more…)

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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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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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