I haven’t blogged for a while. It’s been a long school year. But now that the grades are in, and my brain isn’t cluttered with term papers, final exams, student problems, and committee work, I feel the urge to create flooding back. This is going to be a different kind of post – there’s nothing innovative about nurturing creativity, except for the fact that we don’t do it as much as we should.
I spent last week as Writer in Residence with Write On Door County, a wonderful organization which nurtures writing in one of the most inspirational places I know. Door County is a mecca for the arts; as many people visit to see summer stock theater and visit artist galleries as to comb the beaches or take in a fish boil. WODC is a relatively new addition to the Door County arts scene, but has already made its mark by hosting workshops and classes for all ages, and hosting writers in residence at its beautiful Juddville cottage. I sang for my supper in the form of facilitating a workshop on memoir writing, which inspired me just as much as the writers who attended.
While school is in session, my creative work is limited to short bursts in the evenings or on weekends – knitting on the couch, felting or painting in my makeshift basement studio – good stuff, no doubt. But a week in beautiful Door County, with the cherry blossoms bursting and nothing to do but research and write – well now, that is a luxury. I woke up every day eager to get to work, and spent hours at the computer without tiring. Each day, my co-author and I took a break either at lunch time or before dinner and explored the county. We ate Swedish pancakes at a local restaurant famous for its goats who live on the roof in the summertime; we meditated by the water at the tip of the mainland; we watched loons float and dive while we ate fish; we got a private tour of high school artists exhibited at the Miller Art Museum; we signed the siding at the Francis Hardy Gallery for the Arts – the only art gallery that I know of that sits on the end of a dock. Everything we did just fueled our desire to get back to work. We accomplished a lot.
I have the luxury of being able to use the flexibility of a teacher’s summer to work on creative and scholarly projects (and indeed, it’s part of my job to do so), but I’ve never gone away for a week for the sole purpose of creating. I plan to do it again. Often. I encourage you to do it, too.
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda