So, I’m here. In Vermont. Today is the fist official day of the residency, but I’ve been in the state since Friday night. My mind is mush. Partly because I’m slightly overwhelmed (to put it mildly). Partly because it’s 5am and partly because I’m hungover. They gave us wine last night at the reception, but I also had a bottle of my own (a parting gift from my sister), which I brought to the traditional “first night bonfire.”
I’ve said one phrase more than any other in the past 24 hours: “I’m a writer.” Since VSC accepts people from all disciplines, the first question people ask is “what do you do?” Or “where are you coming from?”
“I’m a writer,” I tell them. “I come from LA.” I might as well say I’m from a distant planet, because that’s how it feels. I’m in another world. A very white world – the ground, the trees, the sky, the people (I’ve seen one person of color in 3 days).
Everything is made of wood. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t recall seeing a concrete or brick building yet
The rural roads seem to go on forever… long, gently curving two-lane roads with few stop signs and even fewer stop lights. Someone mentioned that I would want to come back and ride a motorcycle in the summer? Absolutely.
People are super friendly, but in a pragmatic, no-bullshit way. I think that’s called being genuine.
There’s a quirkiness too. Or a sense of humor. Or both. All I know is I passed a handwritten sign on Route 15 that said “Got Popsicle?” followed by another sign for “Popsicle Contest.”
It’s really quiet. No sirens. No buses or trains (or planes for that matter). No helicopters. The loudest noise so far is the snow plow, which passes by at least once ever 30 minutes. There’s A LOT of snow.
Perhaps because of the quiet, it feels safe.
It better be safe. Our rooms don’t have locks. Rather, they only lock from the inside, so when we’re away the room is protected only by the moral code of our neighbors. I heard a couple of people quietly fretting about it at dinner. One lady was especially concerned because she has a bunch of computer equipment. I told her, “Well, they’re not going to suddenly put locks on the doors. I think we just have to trust. Maybe that’s the whole point.”
Coming from the person who wrote “Packing for Paranoia-ville”. Ha!
There is definitely an aspect of letting go. The founder of the studio, who wore a tunic and several beaded bracelets, mentioned this in his closing/opening remarks last night after dinner. He encouraged us to not only let go, but forget our past lives and disconnect from all our electronic “lifelines” to fully be present with our mind, body, soul and art during our stay here. He was very eloquent and compelling.
After dinner I asked a couple of others if they were going to heed his advice and turn everything off. One lady said, “I can’t. I have a baby at home.” Another said, “I’d like to, but I’m sort of addicted to that stuff.” A third lady said she was going to compromise by leaving her phone in her room while she’s working in her studio. We all agreed the founder’s suggestion was valid and everyone has to figure out what’s best for him/herself.
I had said I would try to blog daily, but we’ll see. It might be less frequent. If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m zoning out.
Until next time.