Residency life: Saltonstall

For the past month (July 24 – August 24, 2017), I’ve been in residence at the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, NY. Mostly, I’ve been writing. Sometimes, I’ve been taking photos. My time in residence at this beautiful artists’ & writers’ colony came to a close this past Thursday, but I feel like I’ve taken a bit of Saltonstall home to Brooklyn with me. Here are a few photo collages / an attempt to capture my time in Ithaca.

Wild Saltonstall
Writing studio
Storm at sunset // tree split
Fuel
Barn party
Favorite tree, Ellis Hollow Road
Creepy barn, Ellis Hollow Road

Ellis Hollow Creek Road
Residents Elisabeth Anton (writer), Kit Frick (writer), Kit Warren (visual artist), Lesley Wamsley (visual artist), Allison Beonde (photographer), and Director Lesley Williamson

Hello from MacDowell

I’m writing tonight from Savidge Library at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where the leaves are turning to fire and the turkeys roam free.

turkeys
These three wild turkeys strutting across the field are a regular fixture of my morning bike ride to Colony Hall.
studio
The eponymously named MacDowell Studio, my writing space for four weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During my month-long residency, I am revising a novel and working on a group of poems. I knew my time at MacDowell would be special, but it’s hard to fully capture the magic of this place in a few words and pictures. I honestly feel like the luckiest writer in the world.

My writing desk in MacDowell Studio.
My writing desk in MacDowell Studio.
Picnic lunch, every day.
Yes, it’s true. Lunch really is delivered to your studio in a picnic basket every single day. Hi, Blake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lodge, where you'll find me when when I'm not in my studio.
The Lodge, where you’ll find me when when I’m not in my studio.
I'm in the Thornton Wilder Room.
I’m in the Thornton Wilder Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My ride around the 450 acre property.
My ride around the 450 acre property.
The display of books by current colonists in Savidge Library. That's ECHO ECHO LIGHT and KILL YOUR DARLINGS, CLEMENTINE to the center right!
The display of books by current colonists in Savidge Library. That’s ECHO ECHO LIGHT and KILL YOUR DARLINGS, CLEMENTINE to the center left!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It hasn’t been hard to tap into the creative energy buzzing all around this place. Thank you, MacDowell. Looking forward to the rest of my stay.

kit-in-studio-2
In my studio, no makeup, good hair day, stone chimney wall.
The "tombstone" plaques in my studio signed by the amazing previous colonists who have written and composed music here before me.
The “tombstone” plaques in my studio signed by the amazing previous colonists who have written and composed music here before me.

Residency time

I just got home from spending two weeks as a writer in residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, NE. More residency, puh-leez! I got a lot done out in Nebraska, and I had an amazing time hanging out and sharing work with the other writers & artists who were in residence while I was out there.

KHN current artists
+ Rachel Ostrow, Visual Artist, New York

I got a lot accomplished in NE. Here are the writing highlights:

  • Worked on my novel-in-progress every day. Guess what: when you have 12 days in a row with no day job concerns and minimal freelancing, you can get a lot done! All told, I almost doubled the length of my draft while in NE and made some good revision progress on early chapters, too. Go me!
KHN white board
A particularly productive writing day.
  • Started a new poetry thing! Yup, a non-specific “poetry thing,” because I’m not sure where it’s headed yet, but I have a few poems and a few more ideas toward it now, which is very exciting.

And here’s a bit of the rest.

Nebraska by the Numbers:

  • In 12 days, I
  • wrote 23,600 words
KHN studio
My writing studio at the KHN Center for the Arts.
  • wrote 4 poems
  • read 5-ish books
  • ate 3 enchiladas with a billionaire benefactor
  • witnessed 2 dinos creeping across some family’s roof
KHN dinos
Creative home decor, Nebraska City.
  • witnessed 1 (different) roof catch on fire
  • watched 21 episodes of Pretty Little Liars
  • took 4 long walks around town and photo-documented my exploration
KHN chlorine plant
I think this is a chlorine plant. Nebraska City.
  • ate only 1 box of Annie’s (pats self on back)
  • ate 1 entire jar of pickled jalapeños (pats self on back)
  • went on 1 pilgrimage to Runza
KHN Runza
Please Note: You are in the midwest, and the correct answer is pop. (Runza, Nebraska City)
  • witnessed 1 crazy hail storm and 3+ super thunderstorms complete with scary rolling thunder
  • saw so many overalls I thought I’d died and gone back to the 90s

Big thanks to Elizabeth Stehling, KHN’s Program Director, and Pat Friedli, the KHN Assistant Director, for having me out there for the last two weeks. Can I turn around and go back now, please?