From June 2-9, I attended a writing residency on Cuttyhunk Island. What follows are a few images that attempt to capture the place, which was magical and enticing to someone who’s lived a land-locked life to this point.
Margot Livesey’s The Hidden Machinery, a collection of essays on writing craft, will be released on July 4, and I cannot recommend it enough. She was kind enough to bring copies for the workshop, so I’ve had the pleasure to have already read it, and I say to you, it is well worthwhile. I learned so much about structure in the novel this week from her workshop leadership and from the book.
Even revisiting my own photos from the week, it is hard to conceive of work with trappings like these. It looks like paradise, and it rather felt like it in many ways: the food was unparalleled, cooked by the amazing Didi Emmons and Odessa Piper; the weather revealed the many moods of the Elizabeth Islands, welcoming us with a double rainbow and rattling the windows with a nor’easter midweek; offering up the luxury of doing nothing but talking writing with smart and talented people. [We got to hear Paul Harding read from work-in-progress and Emma Cline read from The Girls and I’m still trying to catch my breath from it all.] We were given the gift of music from Ben Cosgrove and Lula Wiles in two lovely concerts in the Avalon Inn itself.
But even in a beautiful place, writing is hard. Even with a project you love, revision is hard. No matter how long you’ve been with the piece, you’ll need to find ways to see it newly, and scraping the scales from your eyes is hard.