Week One at Vermont Studio Center top

August 19, 2011

I'm finally at my writer's residency at Vermont Studio Center (VSC) in Johnson, Vermont, and I'm diligently trying to stay on task with my writing--and so far, so good. 

Let me start with the basics: This place is amazing. I walk around and constantly marvel at how grateful I am to be here. My pre-trip nerves were a big ol' waste of my time. Geesh.

There about 70 residents living here and those residents are made of up mostly of visual artists from photographers to sculptors to puppeteers. Lots of painters too. There are 16 writers here, and from the ones that I have met and talked with so far, they are fantastic. Some of them have a few books out (I believe our most famous writer is Elizabeth Crane, who has her third book coming out in Spring of 2012) and some are graduate students finishing up their work. We all write in the same building, but it is considered a quiet space so we do most of our talking in the dining hall. There is also a writer's library which will be used when the two poets come to talk with us, and we can use that to meet up and workshop if we choose to do so. 

Everyone here from the writers to the visual artists to the staff are very friendly. Some artists have come from as far away as Israel and Mongolia. It's fantastic to talk with the writers obviously but also with the visual artists and learn about their craft too. Tonight, there will be a slide show of the artwork from some of the visual artists. The writers will be doing an 8-minute reading of their work in a week or so. 

The living accommodations are great as well. I think I may have lucked out because I live upstairs in a smaller house with two other women on my floor. Our bathroom is only three feet away (if that) from my room. And my room is a corner room, so it's nice and spacious. I already rearranged my furniture to make it more cozy, and the walls in the room are about the same color as the walls in my bedroom so that makes me happy. Sharing the bathroom has been much easier than I thought. Whew. 

The food is pretty good too. Snacks, however, can be hard to come by because there is no grocery store in Johnson: it flooded in April and hasn't since re-opened. Johnson is about a three-street town with a coffee shop, post office, bookstore (unexpectedly fantastic for the small town we are in), two laundromats, a lumber mill, a gas station, and a hardware store. Maybe a few other buildings, but that about covers it. To get powerbars, I had to hit up the Mobil gas station and then the book store at Johnson State College, which is just up the hill from Vermont Studio Center.

My basic routine thus far consists of breakfast, working out either at the gym at Johnson State College, or the yoga studio that VSC runs, or going for a powerwalk, cleaning my stinky self up, and then getting to work. I write until dinner and usually for about an hour or so after dinner. It all depends on how my day goes but that's the basic system for me here. 

I may be in awe for awhile. I think all artists need to come here. 

The Gihon River and my view from my writing studio while at VSC.

Report From Vermont, Part II (Week Two at Vermont Studio Center) top

August 31

 Thank you so much to those of you who have texted me, emailed me, written me, and sent me care packages. So much love. I woke up a bit homesick today--mostly for Marley LemonJelly--so that's why I'm posting today. 

   These photos were taken in at Robbie's Game Refuge, a dive bar in a town called Eden, which is about a seven minute drive from Johnson. Pick-up trucks in the parking lot, an angry bartender, and animal and fish mounts all around the walls--that's Robbie's. Five of us went and had a great time. An older visual artist resident, Ann, who is about seventy years old, told us that she used to go to Robbie's all the time when she was much younger. She's been a resident at VSC many, many times.

   Time is limited right now, so I'll wind it up by saying that I'm still loving it here and am totally inspired. I read an excerpt from my book on Sunday night and received great responses--even from people I had never met. The support here is wonderful and this place is pretty magical.

Barely South Review top


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