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Friday, July 3, 2015

A Writer's night

In the course of our time here at VSC, the writers and the visual artists have comingled and tapped into a chemistry that both inspires and binds us. Writers appear at the life drawing studios, and along the riverbanks where artists are painting plein air. Community art making becomes the fodder for poetry read at the evening readings. At mealtimes the ideas and connections are shouted with glee. So it was with immense pleasure to the majority of us when the writers announced their own open studio evening event.
The Maverick writing Studio houses 16 writers. Among those we visited was Beth Roddy- who has literally and figuratively mapped out the last few months before her father's mysterious disappearance and death. Her studio was full of artifacts placed under blue taped headings such as: "last people to see him alive", "condolence cards" received organized by color, the history of "the crematorium" where the body was transferred and handwriting samples... She had a suitcase with her father's passport and belongings on the desk and a short power point which touched on the (in retrospect hauntingly) trivial actions she committed on the day she received the news of his certain death.
Next was Rosemary Graham working on her novel Simple Lessons in Irish, her work of historical fiction set in Ireland in 1914. Her walls were covered in research documents both real and fictionalized. At the end of the hallway was Su Smallen, author of Buddha, Proof, a collection of poems. She had her studio walls pushpinned with her recent daily life drawing sketches and the poems they inspired day by day. She also had a long musical/dance/ theatrical score written and presented accordian style, about a squirrel's frustration trying to build a nest with colored paper. It was interesting in particular because of the layout, the spacing and the way Su designed the words to sit on the paper.  I also visited the writing rooms of Gwen Mintz's (lots of crayon drawings done as daily exercises), Lindsay Wells, Katheryn Savage (who keeps individual notebooks of research and edits per poem), Nikita Deshpande (color pictures of domestic interiors in Mumbai India), and Amy Young (bird images and nature notes), Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo (art from resident printers lined her space) and as well.
Su Smallen showing Michael her thought process
Beth Roddy in her writing room
Rosemary Graham

Rosemary's notes on her door
Gwen Mintz thinking of her next sentence
After the tour I felt my mind stretched and needed some rest for absorption of the creative practices I saw demonstrated. Looking back at the building across the bridge in the night, I saw each window lit and filled with a variation of the same sort of wing-back chair. Ideal setting for so much magical thought and creative writing.
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