I am so grateful to Vermont Studio Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation for making fellowships for parent artists available at VSC. Without mine, I wouldn’t have been able to spend the last two weeks hard at work on my novel-in-progress! I met so many wonderful writers and artists, and the final draft of THE BOOK OF GOTHEL is almost finished!
The below photos are from photographer Howard Romero’s studio portrait project.
I’m grateful to a number of people to be packing my bags this week! There’s the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded the two-week fellowship and stipend I’ve received to Vermont Studio Center to work on my novel-in-progress, THE BOOK OF GOTHEL. There’s my Dean, who was kind enough to allow me to participate in the residency despite the fact that it begins during final exam week. There are my colleagues at Lake Superior State University, who agreed to administer my finals. There are my students, who have been so supportive of my absence. And there are of course my husband and daughter, who are being, perhaps, most supportive of all.
It has been a real challenge to maintain a balance between work and creative time, this year, since I’ve been serving as chair and teaching an overload, so this fortnight of dedicated time to focus on my manuscript is much-needed. I have about two thirds of the novel rewritten — this is the third draft, if you’re counting — and with all the dedicated time, I’m expecting to actually finish the rewrite. By the end of the two week residency, I hope to be line editing a printed copy of the whole manuscript. I finished the first draft at Vermont Studio Center when I was there for a month in 2015, so returning there to finish feels like coming full circle.
My travel itinerary on Saturday will be a little intense — both Vermont Studio Center and Sault Sainte Marie are pretty remote — but I’m looking forward to the quiet of Maverick Studios, to celebrating winter solstice in the snowy wilderness of Vermont, to seeing the Gihon River freeze. I’m looking forward to listening to my cleats prick the icy ground, after I suit up to leave my studio for a brisk walk to work through a narrative problem. I’m looking forward to quiet time, to thinking time, and to sending the full manuscript off to the agent who asked to read it when I’m through.
I just finished a month-long writing residency at Vermont Studio Center, where I spent each day writing in a beautiful studio with a view of the Gihon River and attended readings, slideshows, and talks almost every night. Especially fascinating was visiting poet Sherwin Bitsui‘s seminar on translation and the way language carries culture, and visiting novelist Matt Bell‘s talk on revision, which was exactly what I needed to hear as I worked on my novel-in-progress. I was impressed with the level of conversation during Q&As after readings and the conversations about craft I had with other residents and visiting writers. Overall, there was a wonderful sense of community, and the campus itself is beautiful. Best of all, I completed the first draft of my novel while I was there! And now, to revise it…