In this season of being thankful, I’m writing a few posts to reflect the goodness that was 2016. Quite a few things to acknowledge, so here we go! First up, residencies.
This past year, I had the distinct honor and privilege of attending three Writer’s Residencies. Residencies are ways for Writers and Artists of all disciplines to get time to focus solely on their craft and complete a project of their choosing. Many of the residencies are in absolutely beautiful locations around the country – sometimes in rural areas, sometimes in the middle of major cities. All have the seclusion necessary for all cultivating the creative process.
The first was a Writer in Residence at Blackacre Conservancy in Louisville, KY, through a partnership with Spalding University’s MFA-W Program. Blackacre’s residency started just this summer and welcomes primarily writers in all genres. My two weeks were spent in an apartment in the farm house as well as presenting workshops at the Chestnut Street YMCA with the Black Achievers and University of Louisville Lincoln Scholars program. The Black Achievers and I spoke on life skills and what my life as a writer. The Lincoln Scholars learned the math and science involved in Theatre (see the presentation here).
My writing primarily focused on getting the first full draft of On the Third Day, a play that looks at the Lansing Family, who, torn apart by a death, must put themselves together again to make a major decision. Muhammad Ali passed during my residency, so I was able to see some of the memorial and catch up with childhood friend (now EPSN Reporter) Coley Harvey! I also met author Kim Michele Richardson (via Twitter!) who brought me the most welcome gift and caramel apple pie, and saw plays at Theatre 502 and The Bardstown.
The second residency was a Writer in Residence at Taleamor Park in LaPorte, In. A new residence hosted by Clifford and Lisa Lee Peterson, it is nestled on a farm. Part of my time was to used to assist with planting some of the garden and cleaning out the barn. While there, we had weekly potluck, an Open House and got to see some of the city of LaPorte, Michigan City and even Chicago!
While in residence, I worked on a first full draft of That What Buried, a play about African American sisters in Paris in the 1950s.
Most recently, I was a Writer in Residence at the Hambidge Center for Arts and Sciences as a Fulton County Fellow. Nestled in the woods of Rabun Gap, GA with no phone service and limited internet access, this residency sits on the land of costumer, activist and weaver Mary Hambidge. I lived in the Foxfire cabin and in residence with several artists/writers from all over the country with whom I dined Tuesday-Friday.
While in residence, my goal was to revise On the Third Day and That What Buried to prepare them for submission opportunities. Revision is probably the hardest things for most writers to do, but Hambidge is the perfect place for it. The artists helped me talk through some of the points and reminded me of things I needed to consider. More than anything, the cabin made me refine my method a little by having me visually ask questions and respond. I also wrote two one minute pieces for the Atlanta One Minute Play Festival (as special event coming soon!) and some smaller devotions and sermons.
Unfortunately, my residency was cut a little short due to the North Ga wildfires. Wishing Jamie, Christine, the evacuated artists and everyone at Hambidge good luck. Praying for rain to come before any damage starts!