Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Newly home after a paradisal residency at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA, where I completed a full first revision of my novel, Faraway Nearby. For the first two-and-half to three weeks of my time, I worked day and night, immersing in the story, the characters, the varied landscapes of my book, which range from Valletta, Malta, to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to Montreal. After writing in fits and starts for months at home, feeling fragmented by the demands of my life as writer, mother, and chief-cook-and-bottle washer, I was able to hold and contain the book within my mind and imagination, thanks to the shedding of all those quotidian distractions.

I had a beautiful studio in the barn with four huge windows, three looking out on hills and pasture. It was fun watching the horses and the cows and the bull and witnessing the birth of several calves. The rumbling vibration of the coal train which shudders past the colony, oh, perhaps four times during the day and night lulled me to sleep and coaxed me awake, and calmed me as I wrote and imagined and sculpted my book. I love the sound of trains, in fact, I love almost everything about trains...that feeling of being suspended--time out from time, not only riding a train, but even hearing and seeing one gives me that feeling.

I met some wonderful artists--novelists, poets, composers, painters--several of whom I know will become life-long friends.

I'm grateful, but also happy to be back home with my nearest and dearest. I missed you guys...bad. Thankfully, everyone is alive, well, thriving, despite my month of being an outlaw mom.

My next rez will be in Spain at Fundacion Valparaiso, though not for some time. I leave home alone a maximum of once a year. Now, if I can only time this residency for the six-month-long Montreal winter, with a visit from my hubbie and kids, well, that would be heaven on earth.


Angie said...

Ami, what a lovely, lyrical redux of the VCCA experience. I'm so glad I got to share the residency experience with you. And the trains! Loved them too.

Chez Ami said...

Thanks Angie. I'm grateful that we met and can enjoy a friendship out here in the cold, hard real world, while reminiscing about our VCCA experience...though there are joys of living out here as well. Look forward to hearing how you like Hedgebrook and can't wait to read your book.