Friday, December 13, 2013

One week changes the landscape drastically.

Today was the writer's craft talk led by Iowa Writer's Workshop director, Lan Samantha Chang.  In the cozy Mason House Library she spoke about how good fiction captures the vastness of human experience and sets rules for itself only to break them.  She reminded us to always consider emotional scope, reviewed Keats' theory on "negative capability," and ended with a discussion of Alice Munro's, The Beggar Maid.   I got an excellent reading list and, as always, relished being in the classroom again.

Afterwards, Esmerelda and I layered up, braved the snow, and walked up the hill to Johnson State College.  The walk up was gorgeous (and freezing) and at the top was the quaintest little campus anyone ever saw.  I'm sure the fact that it was dusted in snow added to its appeal.  Of course, being the nerds we are, we headed straight for the library.  If you're ever traveling and writing or find yourself at a residency in a new town, I highly suggest checking out any local libraries or college campuses.  As artists in residence we're able to check out books and use their facilities--another residency perk.  I roamed the stacks and took notes.  And yet another residency perk: the extra bandwidth and solitude allows the imagination and creative energy to bulk up.  It's amazing what creeps in when you give it space to breathe.  We plan to make our way back to campus to get some work done tomorrow.
Johnson Elementary School just below JSC.  I mean, how cute is that?

Getting ready to nerd out at the library.

I think all the residents are getting a little studio fever.  When we came off the mountain we skipped lunch and headed to a cafe with free wifi for a change of scenery.  There were several other artists in residence hiding out in the corners of the cafe.  It was nice to get away from the routine for a bit.  I'm sure we'll be back.

The writing is going better today.  Thank you for all the positive vibes.  I think they are working.  At least for today.

I am at the half-way mark.  I still have whiskey.

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