Goodbye, Hambidge (and a progress report)

A lot has happened since I left upstate New York in late August. I’m several chapters away from completing a draft of my manuscript! I’ve got a new working title (although I’m still not satisfied with it). I’ve read through all seven of my travel journals. And I’ve rewritten my proposal.

Trail to my Hambidge studio. The seasons changed while I was here!

Trail to my Hambidge studio. I arrived here during summer, and now it's fall!

But more on all that in future posts. My experience at The Hambidge Center has been about more than what I’ve produced. As another artist said, it’s not necessarily what you do while you’re here; it’s your state of mind.

When I left for Hambidge, I felt anxious about writing this book. I was eager to finish it, so I could get a job, earn some money and move out of my parent’s house. Even though I was doing something I always wanted to do — write a book — I felt stagnant in a lot of ways, largely because after ten years of living on my own, I didn’t have my own place. That’s a hard transition.

But being at Hambidge has allowed me to enjoying the process of writing. Surrounded by nature, I’ve reflected not only on my work, but on my life. For the first time, I feel like I could make a lifestyle out of this type of writing.

I still think about how I’m going to make money when I get home, whether off this book or through some another job. That’s probably natural; we all need money to survive. But after five weeks here, I feel differently about trying to finish this book so I can get a job. Maybe, I’ve realized, I had it all backwards — maybe that job, whatever it is, is more of a stepping stone, a way to make money so I can write my next book. What I’m saying here is that my priorities have changed. I do need to make money. But my next priority, I think, is another book. (And yes, I have one in mind.)

Another writer might not be have been moved by Hambidge’s rustic setting. An artist’s experience might have been ruined when she ran into a bear on the way to her studio, like the potter here did last week. But for me, there was something about being surrounded by nature, the group of people I was placed here with and the timing, that allowed Hambidge to have an effect on me. I’m not sure I even know fully what that effect is yet. Time will tell.

I do know that I want to come back. I encourage you, too, to apply to Hambidge; the next deadline is January 15. Or check out a post I wrote about how to find and apply to a residency that’s right for you.

Now I’m off. I’ve got a road trip to New York ahead of me.

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12 Responses

  1. Sounds like you got exactly what you needed, Alexis. Glad things are unveiling for you in a good way. I’m writing this from Dublin, Ireland, halfway thru a lovely holiday that began in Scotland. I’m loving Ireland.
    Blessings,
    Karen

  2. Glad to hear you had such a fantastic experience. Have a safe trip back!

  3. It sounds like you had a wonderful and fruitful stay at Hambridge. I’ve only recently realized myself that the main benefit of my work life is make money so I can write when I’m not working.

  4. congrats on a successful experience! now hurry home!

  5. money is that sticky little thing, isn’t it? but i think you have the right attitude about it. find a job that lets you also have time to write. or if you are interested, you might want to consider the mfa route. if you can get funding you could have a good year or two just to write and maybe teach a little 🙂 – and yes – i did go for an mfa!

    glad you had a great residency!

  6. Sounds like you had an awesome time (do people still say awesome?) I’d love to do a residency, but wife, kids, and all prevent it. But glad you were able to experience it.

    Steve Tremp

  7. Sounds like you’ll be reaping the benefits of this worthwhile experience for a long time. I’ve certainly enjoyed hearing about it.

  8. Alex, it’s good that you find your priority and that you want to write another book. I’m very happy with my self-publishing experience and am hoping to put out maybe two books a year. So writing has risen higher in my life plan too.

    Steamy Darcy

  9. […] Posted on October 7, 2009 by Alexis Grant I wrote a lot at Hambidge. I made friends. I reflected on where to go from here. But something else happened that I haven’t yet told you about: I […]

  10. Thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like something I might be interested in doing. Sometimes it’s difficult to escape the daily grind and living responsibilities. You’ve been most helpful.

  11. […] my writer’s residency in Georgia in September, one of the artists made an observation during dinner. He had noticed that […]

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