31 July 2012

A Place for Writers

Recently we've had a number of writers at Small Pond as part of our artist residency program. I like writers. I get writers; not surprising, seeing as how I've been one for the better part of my life.
Most of our artists in residence hail from cities, so it comes as no surprise that almost all of them comment on how quiet it is here. In such quiet you can hear the stories speaking gently inside of you without them struggling to be heard above the din of traffic or the neighbors' TV set. Quiet is good for writers.

Jennifer Morales and Tina Owen are a couple from Milwaukee who recently spent a week writing here. I was impressed by their focus and drive to realize their personal writing goals. Yet creativity is anything but a predictable process, and both of them found themselves sometimes writing things they hadn't necessarily intended. I love it when surprises bubble up from within us. Jennifer and Tina cooked some incredible meals for us while they were here, and suitably wrapped up their stay by participating in our art/food festival, Cornography.

Sharon Caldwell's arrival coincided with the first pizzas emerging from our new cob bake oven, a most joyous occasion. Sharon is a writer and photographer living in Peterborough who came to Small Pond for a creative getaway. She was drawn - as many have been before her - to spend an inordinate amount of time in our Salon du Silo. It's a magical outdoor space on the site of a former barn that is completely wrapped in nature. Sharon made herself a little nest of blankets and whiled away her days there reading, writing, communing with chipmunks and getting drunk on sunshine.

Chris and Erin Rouse are couple of teachers/artists from Grimsby who spent a few days here as wedding gift from a mutual friend. Erin painted and Chris worked on some writing, and we had great dinner table conversations about film and theatre. One night Milé took them on a creative field trip to the monthly Prince Edward County Comix Jam. Apparently, they rocked it.

Yes, Small Pond is a quiet place. In this quiet you can hear all sorts of things. Crickets, birds, the wind in the trees, bees buzzing by, and your own heart beating as you breathe deep and dare to think big thoughts.

This fall we are hosting our first 'official' writers' retreat, led by the downright lovely Chris Kay Fraser of Firefly Creative Writing. I am honored that Chris has chosen Small Pond as a place to inspire others to creativity. If you'd like to find out more about this workshop, called Spark Your Creative Fires for Fall, you can read about it here. In the words of one of her group participants, "Chris leaves everyone in her wake feeling amazing and healthy and radiant..." and who couldn't use some more of that?

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