Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Preparing for a Writer’s Residency at Wildacres

I wanted to make the title of this post “Dude, I’m So Stoked to Win This Residency.” It’s an inside joke inspired by my daughter, who once came up with the line “Dude, I’m so stoked to win this Nobel” as one that’s unlikely to ever be spoken. It’s silly, but it’s true. I am stoked.
Residency cabin at Wildacres


Wildacres Retreat is a conference center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and in addition to hosting all manner of non-profit arts and education programs, they offer one-week residencies for writers and artists to work on a project in the solitude of a mountain cabin.

I learned a lesson about persistence when I was awarded a residency this year, as I almost didn’t fill out the application. I had applied before (twice, actually) and my project been turned down. This year, I almost didn’t bother, but I also felt that my lost film book had a better shot at being accepted. The fact that the article that inspired it had been nominated for an award (The Rondo Hatton Award, honoring classic film research) was validation that pushed me into trying one more time.

And I got it. Now, my goal is to live up to the opportunity. It’s both a tool and a gift. As much as I value privacy, real solitude is pretty rare in my life. This is a chance to get a lot of writing done, without interference from body-climbing cats or my neighbor’s tuba lessons. I’m somewhat afraid of liking it too much. (Don’t be shocked if a post titled “I’m Moving to the Woods” appears.)

While I’ve been busy researching for months now, the next couple of weeks are a flurry of activity. I have a ton of research materials on the way, and I’m scrambling to get at least somewhat close to the end of the major research. The goal is to be ready to write when the residency time comes.

Then, maybe later, a Nobel.





13 comments:

  1. That sounds awesome. Good luck getting ready!

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  2. The Blue Ridge Mt. are so lovely, Kelly. You won't want to come home. Congratulations!

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  3. This sounds very exciting. What a beautiful location! I'd love to retreat into the mountains, but I'm afraid I might spend too much time outside walking around. That's mostly what I did when I lived in Laurel Valley in 1974. But actually I did get quite a bit of writing done back then too. Look forward to hearing about your experience.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Don't pressure yourself too much...you've already Lived Up to it, or they wouldn't've offered! And may all be more settled for you and yours when the week begins...

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  4. Sounds fantastic Kelly - well done (Nobel or no Nobel)

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  5. Looks beautiful. *I'm* stoked, and I don't even get to go.

    Cheering you onward, to the woods, Nobel, and beyond!

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  6. Thanks for all the well wishes, folks. A recent family issue has kept me quiet, and also means I can't attend the retreat in October. They're kindly letting me take a spot next Spring, when the 2014 residencies begin. I'll still be going, but it will be some time before I make my report.

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  7. How cool! I'm sorry to hear you had to delay the retreat, but at least you'll have more time to prepare. Congratulations!

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    1. I think it's turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I really do need the extra research time.

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  8. Congratulations on your residency! I applied this year and was turned down. I am taking more time with my application statement for next year. Can you give me any advice about responding to their request "Tell us a little about yourself and your project"? Should I be flowery, straightforward, list accomplishments, describe my novel? Help. Any advice you can give me will be appreciated. Thanks! Be cool, dude!

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