VCCA Residency, June 2009

I’ve let this blog space languish long enough, I think. Last year it was a case of the best of intentions meeting the rigors of life with two wee people plus work and marriage. I’ve hardly written a word toward anything, let alone toward this memoir.

But. I’ve been granted a marvelous gift: a two-week residency fellowship to the Virgina Center for the Creative Arts, and I plan to make every moment of it count.

It seems to me this is a good use for this blog–a journal of my time here (to record it for myself) and a place for working out stuff in the memoir maybe. I have a rather amorphous sense of what I need to accomplish while I’m here: a new skeleton for the memoir. A chronological narrative. I had thought that wouldn’t be possible, given my subject, but maybe there is a way. And maybe I’ll figure it out while I’m here, or maybe I’ll abandon the project entirely. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but my connection to it feels very flimsy just now, and I’m actually wanting to write poems. Nothing says I can’t do both as long as I do something.

First impressions: Virigina is stunningly beautiful. VCCA is nestled on Mount San Angelo in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s up a gravel path past cow and horse pastures. I’m not sure why, but the natural beauty surprised me. I knew it wouldn’t look like MacDowell, which is my only point of reference for these sorts of places, but beyond that I had no idea. It’s really, really lovely.

I arrived just in time to sit down to a simple dinner of pasta with red sauce, tiny meatballs, steamed green beans and caprese salad (tomatoes were not ripe. Boo.). People seem friendly and I had some nice get-to-know you chats over dinner and then after, as I walked around the property a bit.

My studio is simple, too, with a desk, a lamp and a bed. That’s about all I need. Smells musty in there, though, so I’m hoping for some mountain air to blow through tonight.

Leaving the kids was horrible. I knew it would be, and have been positively dreading it for weeks. Rudy has been clingy and needy beyond the norm, and as I pulled away today, I could see him sobbing, crying after me. Paul said he collapsed onto the lawn and cried there for 15 full minutes. We talked via Skype this evening, and I think it only made things worse for him. Poor guy.

This did not make the guilt I have for even being here in the first place lift any. But that is a post for another day.

Tonight, I’m going to be early, I think, so I can get an early start.

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