Hard to wake up this morning, even after seven hours of sleep. It’s as if my body knew it was snowing outside, telling me the practical thing would be to stay in bed under the covers. Todd had been gone for two hours at the studio, so it seemed way past time for me to kick off the covers.
You can’t see the hint of mountains in the distance this morning. It’s just a white haze and gentle snow flurries. A thin dusting coats everything, making the view from the writing studio particularly beautiful. The artist’s studio across the river with its ivory and green looks so quiet. Someone must be over there working already. In the first photo below, the grey house is Maverick, the writing studio, and my studio is on the first floor, fourth window from the front (with the blinds drawn). The second photo is the view from my studio of the artist building across the river.
Yesterday, our first full day at VSC was a busy one. After I wrote here yesterday, the busy writing day continued. Breakfast was again full of conversation, with everyone in various states of alertness. After breakfast, I waited to find out my work-study assignment and chose a window seat in the lower lounge of the mill. The water cascading down stone and under the bridge. In addition to the scenery, the lounge holds three rooms of art books, couches and comfy reading chairs, and a tv with a wall of VHS and DVDs.
Then, it was back to the studio for more writing. I’m working on my genealogy project on this residency, so I spent most of the day reading my great-grandfather Collins’ weekly column he wrote for The Odessan back in 1958-60. He appears to have been a sarcastic, funny man. He wrote short little vignettes and one-line stories. Here’s one:
I know a lady who recently gave away her whistling teakettle because it always whistled extra shrilly early in the morning when she was getting breakfast, clad in the minimum of clothes. (1958-03-07)
I sat in my comfy maroon chair by the window most of the day and read his columns to the lulling rhythm of the river outside. There are quite a few to get through, and I just made it through 23 yesterday. I think that’s about 1/7 of the stack.
I found out my work-study is to help in the office. They are compiling a list of international arts organizations in an effort to attract more international artists to the VSC. So, I’ll cull the list, finding errors and correcting them. Back at home, Tim and I have been working on updating the database for Victories, so it seems oddly funny that I’m on “vacation” but doing the same type of work. Well, Todd is on lunch dish duty, so I can’t complain.
Meal times here are a cacophony of conversations. With 50 of us here, we all are still meeting each other. Yesterday, I met two women from Canada, a Columbian who lives in Miami, and a Chicagoan who lives probably a ½ mile from Todd and I in Andersonville. At dinner we all spoke about our day, what “first day” progress we had made. Luke, a lovely artist from London, spoke about doing a watercolor down by the river. With the rain and snow squalls yesterday afternoon, he spoke about how his painting interacted with the weather, changing the painting as he created it. As he spoke with animation, his blue tinted hands were evidence of his productive day.
After dinner, we all dispersed—some for social time and others for work. In the writer’s house, you could see at least eight lights on, so it was a full house. Everyone tucked in their rooms, keeping up the momentum of the first day. It was so quiet, you hardly knew anyone was here. In the artist’s studio across the river, I could see the lights of at least six studios, their skylights and windows all lit up, the walls on the studios still white. No fresh paintings yet hanging from my peeping tom view across the river.
Sitting here in my warm studio, I feel the gift of this space. I have two friends struggling with cancer, one took a turn for the worse yesterday and the other goes into another surgery this morning. My Grandma Eisen told my mom yesterday that she wish she had a gun so she could shoot herself, but she also thought she had gone to the casino boats and lost that day. My writing also becomes about them, this gift, and the perspective it offers.