Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week 1

Snow drift early this morning over
the mountains
It has been one week since I landed in Burlington, Vermont and took the shuttle to the small town of Johnson, where the population comes in well under 4,000 and the maple candy is pure. It has been as low as -15F since I've been here, and oh yes, there has been snow. We didn't get hit hard at all by the blizzard, but what reached us was the most snow I've seen at once in a long time.

I was thrilled because I was able to take pictures with my phone today. In the airport, on the way here, I had dropped my phone on the bathroom floor, and it fell to pieces. I was able to put it back together; however, I didn't realize at the time that I had lost my micro-SD card, which meant I couldn't store anything on my phone, including pictures. But, I got a new one last night and voila! I took these on my early morning walk... a few pics post-yesterday's snow. I have to say, it really is like being inside of a snow globe.

It's a little snowier now
If you are considering a residency but have yet to make up your mind as to whether to apply, do! The food is good, the people are cool (though I guess the people would always be different), and the value of free time to write is, as MasterCard would say, priceless TM (they did trademark that, right?). Also, Johnson, VT is adorable. There's pizza, wing, and Chinese restaurants downtown. No grocery store since the flood, but a pretty handy gas station and another deli that sells wine and snacks. There's a headshop (smokeshop), an art store, Ebenezer Books on Main, a cool little coffee shop, a P.O., and a laundromat. That's pretty much the extent of it, but let's be honest, any more would just be distraction.

I am happy to say that I was productive my first week. I have 25 badass pages of revised novel and 160 pages to revise. But, I've done some major adjustments to the book I'm working on here that I think are changing the pace of things dramatically. One of the residents here said something that struck me the other day. He said that if you're not interested in your own work, no one else will be. You have to be excited about it as you create, and if you are, that's exactly how you know you're on the right track. I agree. When I first started on this piece here, I wasn't excited. I just wanted to finish a novel. Now, I'm thrilled. In fact, I want to see what happens next as much as I would if I were reading someone else's work.

Along with my badass novel revision/additions, I have written two new stories top to bottom that star the same character, only neither story is told from his perspective. These new pieces were inspired partly by my interest in animal trivia (in case you haven't noticed) and some of the nature stories I've heard here in Vermont. I developed a rather oddball character, but I love him. I think he's interesting enough to have an entire collection of work devoted to him. We'll see. I hope to write at least one more piece with him in it while here.


So, yeah, I'm energized and ready to write some more. (Conversely, this cold wears a person out! I'm exhausted by 6PM.) I'm technically more than half-way through the residency, so here's to hoping I can get to page 100 of the novel. If I can, I think I could get it ready for an editor by early summer.

In the meantime, please read my new experimental piece in Stone Highway Review. You can read it for free here, or you can support a lit mag and get the beautiful printed version here (see right for the cover image). Thank you, Mary Stone Dockery and Kate Longofono, for putting together such a beautiful body of work. Also soon to come out is the beautiful new issue of Lost in Thought Magazine, which is put out by Kyle Schruder and Robert Vaughan. I got my proof yesterday, and I can't wait to read (and see) the whole thing.

I also had three pieces accepted into the Eunoia Review, which should be appearing this summer. Thanks, Ian Chung, for the mega acceptance. It sure set the right mood when I got here.

Talk about good vibes in Vermont. Now, back to it... I only have a week left!


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