Re-framing the Tour
The first time I tackled the subject of fall 2011, I called it “Re-framing Failure.” It felt good to name the challenges, remember small successes, and mentally shift my perception of the two-year tour. Since then, I’ve resolved to make this a three-year tour, hopefully concluding with a major grant or post-graduate fellowship by fall 2012 or spring 2013.
THE WHAT IF’s
If I don’t get a grant or post-graduate fellowship but still love life on the road, THE CLAW will come off the car, I’ll stop counting months and miles, and officially make the road a way of life. No time limits. No rules. Just go…and go further. If I don’t get a grant or post-graduate fellowship and I’m too tired to continue life on the road, I’ll try “settling.” For a little while, at least. That means choosing a place, and right now if I had to pick, that place would be Joseph, Oregon.
It’s been an intense summer of nail-biting, researching, applying, and thanking. With Interlochen Summer Arts Camp finished as of yesterday, I already feel that itch to get on the road (did I mention I started packing already?). Not so fast. Tomorrow I begin teaching a week-long “Making Meaning of Our Memories” residential workshop for Interlochen College of Creative Arts. The class is full with a waiting list and I’m psyched to get a private cabin on the lake with beach access and meet new adult students. After the course, I’ll spend 10 more days or so on campus (free, thanks to my generous summer roomie whose house will be empty while she’s on vacation in Colorado), then hit the road.
I’ll hit the road the last week of August, staying with a composer in Bloomington for a few nights and a poet in Fayettville for a few nights, arriving in Houston 1500 miles later. There, I’ll spend 25 days living and working in Sherm’s warehouse studio, with a 9’x12′ loft to myself for writing, plus the shared advantage of working alongside another artist. I’m calling it THE WAREHOUSE SESSIONS and using it as a chance not only to explore the 5th largest city in the nation but also seek out interesting tidbits for my latest flash fiction, which explores minor urban catastrophes.
Next, I’ll travel 300 miles to Madrono Ranch in Medina, TX, where I have been awarded a 3-week fully funded residency. During my stay, 1 other artist will also be in residence, although our studios are separate. This is a working bison ranch in the heart of Texas Hill Country that also supports artists by offering residencies. A truly unique place that I can’t wait to see!
By October 12th, I’ll hit the road toward North Carolina to see my parents for a few nights and attend a friend’s wedding in Asheville. By October 24th, I’ve got to get myself 7 hours north of there to Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where I’ve been awarded a 5-week fully funded residency through Thanksgiving. I’ll spend December at home for a much needed respite of family, friends, and the world’s greatest dog name Gus.
A few days after the New Year, I’ll give THE CLAW a rest and hop on a plane to fly to the island of Sitka, Alaska for a 1-month fully-funded residency at The Island Institute. They only choose 4 writers per year and I was so honored to be selected! This organization has a long, rich history and is known for using “the literary arts as a means of inquiry into the core values of community, and promot[ing] collaborative leadership as an avenue to deepen democratic principles of civic engagement.”
At long last I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Seeing it all laid out this way, it’s a few thousand miles more than I thought I’d be traveling, but each and every stop looks full of promise. Ask me how I’m doing two days into the Houston road trip and I’m certain I’ll be too busy smiling to reply. Life is on the move. It feels good to try and keep pace with it.