Saturday, September 5, 2009

Questions about Residencies

I have never had the opportunity to apply for a writing residency. I complicated my life early on. I married at 19, then had my first child at 20. That marriage lasted about 5 years. My current marriage has lasted 33 years, which includes more children and is still going on. So my living has been steady in the domestic scene, and I have been working all those years too. I live in a pastoral landscape. Much of my writing has this place as its setting, and I hope as I grow older that my children will be able to keep this little farm in the family. My grandchildren want it, or so they tell me. But I'm getting away from my questions. I would love the chance to go to a residency now. Not a conference or weekend workshop, but a place of solitude. I don't think anyone here would mind my taking off for a bit. I'm wondering what the success is. Is it bliss or agony? Does it take a bit to settle into the new space? How does one feel post residency? Do other writers and artists respect the solitude, or is there invasion? What do you do when there is invasion and you need to get back to work, but don't want to be rude?

Here's an example:

Because my work takes me everywhere, I literally drive 35,000 miles per year. I suffer tension in my neck and back. I used to go to massage therapists (actually have been to several) and the same damn thing happens. They talk to me-- literally my earlobes are dragging on the ground when I leave their workspace. So I never really feel loosened up, because I've had to be a good listener to them-- hear their stuff and respond to them. Consequently, I stopped going because the tension cure was minimal and the cost steep. Massage therapy ain't cheap. So, this is what I want to know. How many of you had superior experiences and where, and how did you manage your time, and how did you maintain boundaries, without looking like a jerk?


  1. I've never been to a residency but there is one I covet. But I know what you mean about the talking. It's one reason I dread getting my hair cut. The necessary conversation. Ugh.


  2. R.
    I was really hoping someone would reveal the merits of the different experiences. Geez, it must be some secret! I like the idea of having meals and conversation and a sharing time, if desired. But I would want set work hours. I think that's how most retreat residencies work. I'm terrible about turning people away. The massage therapy thing is so ironic. I think the service should have been a draw on who was going to pay whom. They were all smiles when I left and I still had this knot in my neck and back. The long distance and short distance driving is very stressful because our highways are in constant state of repair and far too many people drive those big SUVs and strangely they can't drive well.

    Thanks for chiming in here. I was feeling like an echo.