As you re-establish your writing schedule this fall and start sending work out to editors (or to your critique group), make sure you’re also applying for residencies and fellowships. My home state of Oregon offers cash writing fellowships to poets, writers, and publishers who are Oregon residents, and many states have similar provision for the arts. Do you know what’s available in your state? Find out and start to apply! Get these application deadlines on your calendar and make applying for them part of your writing life. I applied for an Oregon Literary Fellowship the year I moved back to Oregon (2009) and I still apply every year. I haven’t won yet, but I've promised myself I'll keep applying. Why not? It costs me a stamp or two, and it’s good practice. Also, one of these years, I just might win.
|My favorite reading spot at Kangaroo House|
You should also be applying for writing residencies, which are essentially (more or less) paid retreats for the purpose of reading, writing, and fellowshipping with other artists and writers. I applied for an Artsmith Artist Residency Fellowship (in Washington State) in 2012 and was turned down. But I promised myself I would try again. I’m so glad I did! The second year I applied, I was accepted, and in January of this past year I left my kids and husband a chore chart and headed north past Portland, past Seattle, to the San Juan Islands.
Transportation is not included in this residency, so if you’re selected you’ll have to get yourself to the San Juan islands by plane, boat, or minivan (my middle-aged-mom vehicle of choice). The sun set while I was on the ferry from Anacortes, so I arrived at the residency after dark (which isn’t all that late when you’re as far north as the San Juan Islands in January) and clunked my suitcase up the wide porch steps of the Kangaroo House Bed and Breakfast, a twenties era two-storey home with lots of space for poets and writers and artists to sprawl around with laptops and books and sketchpads.
Each resident has a private bedroom/bathroom. A seriously gourmet supper is provided each evening, and for breakfast and dinner you’ll have access to a fridge and microwave to fix your own fare. Oh, and there’s a self-refilling bowl of chocolates on the coffee table by the fireplace. Amazing.
Jill and Charles, owners of Kangaroo House and sponsors of the residency, have a special sense for when to say hello and chat, and when to keep quiet and let you be. Along with two poets and a fiction writer, I wrote and read my days away in front of the cozy fireplace at Kangaroo House. The one artist among us had a cabin on the beach where he sketched and painted by day, joining us in the evening for a delicious shared meal and later, wine and artsy talk around the fireplace. The residency is scheduled perfectly for academics, during the last week of winter break.
|My residency pals: Tim Burton, Theresa Dowell Blackinton, Simone Muench, Cynthia Neeley, and the wonderful Jill McCabe Johnson (Charles is behind the camera)|
Applications are due September 30, and the application packet includes a “statement of intent,” which I took to be a version of the commonly requested Artist Statement. I’ll post my own application letter to Artsmith here tomorrow—the one from the year I was accepted!
The application fee for the Artsmith Residency is $35 and the deadline is September 30.