Writing in the woods: My artist residency begins

“You’ve got the cabin in the woods,” said the woman who showed me to my writer’s studio.

She wasn’t kidding. I had followed her in my car about half a mile away from the main Hambidge facilities to a small cottage surrounded by trees. This was where I would spend the next five weeks as an artist in residency, working on my travel memoir.

Son Studio, my writing space at The Hambidge Center

Son Studio, my writing space at The Hambidge Center

The loudest noise in my new workspace is the chorus of crickets outside. It is so perfectly quiet here. And I will never be interrupted. One of the few rules at The Hambidge Center is that no one is allowed to come to my studio unless I invite them (not that they could find it). I could write nude all day – hey, we all have our writing vices – and no one would know or care. This space is all mine.

Inside my writing studio.

Inside my writing studio.

The other rule is that fellows are required to eat dinner together Tuesday through Friday. I doubt this rule is ever broken. After spending all day by myself, I’m pretty much dying for some human interaction. And The Center provides a chef who cooks evening meal for us. Her all-vegetarian creations are magnificent, not to mention her tasty deserts like apple pie and orange-chocolate brownie. (I’m responsible for the rest of my meals.)

During these suppers, I’ve gotten to know the other seven residents here. Our ages range from 26 – 58, we hail from around the country, and we work in various disciplines. Four of us are writers — there’s a poet, two novelists and me. Then there’s a photographer, a potter and a musical composer. Each is staying for a different amount of time, so during my five weeks, some will leave and be replaced by new faces. They’re such smart, contentious people, each with their own take on the world.

So what do I do during the day? I write. Then I take a break to run or hike on Hambidge’s many trails. Then I write some more. Without the Internet in my studio, cell phone access, a television or even a radio, my distractions here are limited, and I’ve already gotten a lot done.

There’s something about being surrounded by nature that makes me feel incredibly creative. I’ve thought a lot about it during the last week, as I walked by myself through the woods, and I still don’t know how to explain it. But whatever that energy is, I’ll take it. I feel lucky to be here.

15 Responses

  1. that is beautiful. I think the all white, sterile interior would get to me, but I could work past that. Enjoy your time.

  2. Alexis, so glad the residency is what it is for you. The cabin and its setting are ideal. You go girl!

  3. Cute cabin in an absolutely beautiful area – I’m glad you’re finding the experience productive.

  4. Alex,

    This is so lovely — thanks for sharing your photos!

    I think you said this in an earlier post, but I forgot; how long are you there for?

    Happy writing, and soak up all that creative energy from the forest and creatures 🙂


  5. Le sigh!!! It looks lovely. Lucky you!!! You have inspired me to look into applying for a residency. Happy writing!

  6. What a great writing place! Thanks for sharing. Just discovered your blog and I love it!

  7. Sounds wonderful! I would really love the getting out to hike part 🙂

  8. Jealous.

  9. Hooray! Best of luck with your memoir!
    Write Write Write!

  10. Wonderful opportunity for you! It sounds ideal.

  11. sooooooooo cool!

  12. This looks amazing. Such a nice cabin. Inside looks very comfy and inviting, and just being that surrounded by nature is amazing. Looks very peaceful, and its no wonder writers are able to get so much done at these residencies. I’m enjoying keeping up with the blog and your experience. If I ever get the chance to be employed where I can take a sabbatical or one day write full-time, I would love to do this as well!

  13. […] my five weeks here are almost over. So I’ve taken part in a Hambidge tradition, one that allows me to become part of […]

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