In a few weeks I head out to a 7-day residency in Lovell, Maine. I am really looking forward to spending some time at the Hewnoaks Artist Colony, and am thrilled that it’s primarily disconnected. There won’t be wifi in my work/live space and cell coverage is spotty. I can’t wait to tune everything else out and just work on my projects.
That said, there’s a lot of prep I still need to do beforehand. Here are some of the things on my mind:
Making a meal plan. Some residencies provide food for you, but not this one of them. The location is somewhat remote so we’ve been advised to bring any food we really count on since the local grocery stores might not have specialty items. If you know me at all, you know I have weird food issues, so this is looming large. Basically I want to make or bring everything I will need for the week, including extras for any nights the group of artists might hold potlucks. For my last two week-long residencies, I survived on bagged salads, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, crackers, salami, trail mix, quinoa, oatmeal, and bananas. Basically like grown-up lunchables plus wine and coffee.
Figuring out a photography rig. For one of the projects I’m working on, I need a camera that shoots from above and will stay in the same place. Something like this setup. However, I’m running out of time and unless I can borrow equipment from someone in town, this might not happen. I plan to talk to 3 local photographers I know to see if they have anything that might work that I can snag for a week. If this part of my project doesn’t work out, it’s not a huge deal, but I’d love to have this set up to experiment with during the week I’m there.
Picking out books. Which books you bring with you on residency has got to be the most difficult part for any writer! You won’t have access to your full collection, you’re typically far away from your local library and bookstores, and you don’t know exactly what you’re going to be in the mood to read. Some residencies have on-site libraries but that’s still an unknown. I usually bring about 7-10 books with me—some mentor texts relating to the projects I’m working on, some books from my to-read list, and at least one book I’ve read a bunch of times. I call this my comfort book, the one that I’ll turn to if things start to go sideways and I need a tried and true positive distraction.
I need to buy a used cd player/radio; painter’s tape; index cards. I need to bring a level; a couple large sheets of white paper; source texts; collage supplies; hiking gear. There’s a lot to do, but soon I’ll be putting up my email auto-responder and checking out!