This week I’m a fellow-in-residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Some words and images from the first day:
The experience so far has a lot to do with tea and books.
Here’s what my suitcase looked like, for example:
I brought my electric kettle in order to skip the trips to the kitchen. Left poor Jake dependent on the hot plate for the week (which takes approximately three days to boil a pot of water.)
The desk I have here is nice and wide, excellent for lots of random piles of books and notebooks. Type at one end, scribble out some comics at the other.
I also brought my two good luck charms. Jake’s mom Chris gave me these two painted chalk figures a while back. Chris was a champion for my creative pursuits. When I finally confessed my interest in acting and writing (I was terribly shy about it at first, to the point where I couldn’t even speak in class let alone perform a Shakespeare monologue in verse), she bought me so many plays,books about playwriting, short stories, and novels. These two little desk guardians remind me of her positivity, encouragement, and the immense amount of love I feel for her every. single. day. She saw some tiny little fire in me, one that most people thought was silly and useless, and she fed it with long talks at her kitchen table and compassion and lots and lots of love. I love and miss her so much! When I look at these little faces I think “I will write for Chris.” And then writing doesn’t seem so hard anymore, it seems easy and full of happy vibes.
And while we’re on the topic of good luck charms and happy vibes, it’s also good to bring along some items in your favorite color. Can you guess what mine is?
Also helpful: poems, essays, and stories by ”fierce literary mothers.” (quoted from Siri Hustvedt’s essay “My Inger Christensen” in her essay collection Living, Thinking, Looking.)
After settling in and unpacking all the tea and books and good luck charms, maybe you will make a schedule? Maybe you will draw on a piece of paper a chart that says ”Clock IN / Clock OUT” across the top in order to time how long you spend at your desk working on certain projects.
Or maybe you will just sit at the big desk for a minute and *blink*blink*blink* and then get up and take pictures of everything in your studio and then listen to someone have a cell phone conversation outside of your window.
Maybe you will feel scared and alone and miss your husband and your pets. Maybe you will wonder what they are doing right at this moment.
Maybe you will talk to your chalk figures and ask “Do you think I should have more minty tea?”
Maybe your blog post will get a little weird towards the end.
Whatever you do, whatever you feel, that is fine. It is all fine. Just see where the big desk and the window takes you. It’s only yours for a week. So let’s get to it. It’s time to show Chris what you’ve got.