I've done a few stints at art colonies, years ago. Very similar, everyone
doing their devotions pen or brush in hand. Aside from the ones who went
nuts (nobody goes bonkers on this side of the Atlantic), the atmosphere was
almost serene, the complexities of human interaction after-hours falling
away. Until the end of the time, when some lovely brief relationships had
to be questioned. That's one the Jesuits aren't supposed to have to deal
with, tho every Jesuit I've known seems to have thought that celibacy meant
MacDowell was particularly wonderful. Breakfast at 7:30, pre-dinner
straggling in at 5:30, in between unbroken solitary hours in a cabin in the
woods. A lunch basket and a load of firewood discreetly delivered to the
cabin door. It was autumn, and the couple of hundred acres held all of 20
artists and maybe 5 staff.
I desperately needed the alone time then. I think I've been trying to
construct my own private MacDowell ever since.
Silence and solitude, whether at a place in the woods or on a long walk or
drive, seems to make it easy to focus on details, and to even out the
hierarchy that normally elevates one's own internal details above, say, the
roll of speaker chord sitting on an open dictionary on the pile of books
atop the speaker across the room. The quality of light becomes important
(lovely today, by the way, a light cloud cover softening the shadows)
At MacDowell I wrote a novella that I don't care to read and the cycle of
poems that Frank Parker has put up at http://www.frankshome.org/.
At 06:43 AM 11/27/2005, you wrote:
>It's good for writers, too. The Hawthornden fellowship I did last year
>required day-long silence, from breakfast to supper. (And no phones or
>email either.) Some are reputed to have gone stir-crazy under a month of
>this regime, but I found it very productive, in spite of being an
>inveterate talk-to-my-self-er who's in the habit of reading stuff aloud as
>I go, to hear how it works.
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Kenneth Wolman" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 1:50 AM
>Subject: Re: Other French joke
>ROBIN HAMILTON wrote:
>>(Incidentally, when did the Jesuits become a sept of
>>the Trappist Order? News to me.
>Didn't. Anyone in or near religious life has long since recognized the
>value of the periodic shut-up as a way to get into yourself and then out
>of yourself so when you get back into yourself it all makes more sense
>See, life is a patter-song.
>Admiral Joseph Porter
>Kenneth Wolman www.kenwolman.com kenwolman.blogspot.com
>"You have to be a speedy reader, cause there's
> so, so much to read!" - Dr. Sousť