The saga of a writing residency in the mountains begins with the writer flipping through a guest book and discovering a manifesto.
I’m at the Leighton Artist’s Colony at the Banff Centre for the Arts – a huge, big enormous thing for me, and a bigger deal than the other trips I’ve taken to the Banff Centre. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and it’s finally here. Eee!
There are guest books in each studio, and I opened mine to find this:
I think that’s my manifesto for this residency: ‘to Banff or not to Banff: this is the answer…to all the questions of creation. To be an artist is: – first: to be; second: to do – the shadow of to be, third: – to enjoy not being what you believed to be…’ It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Self, the goals are:
- Reading in the evenings, and trips to the Paul D. Fleck library.
- Steady writing – steady, consistent work, and not fits and starts.
- A fair amount of day-dreaming.
- Conversations to be had with new people without feeling inadequate or self-conscious.
- A trip up the gondola with Fred.
- To crush some pine needles in my hand and smell them.
- Getting up at a reasonable hour (goes along with the consistent, steady work).
- Meet some of the other people in the colony.
- Eat a lot of bacon (but not too much – we all know how that will end, and it won’t be pretty)
Chances are pretty good that I’m going to overdo the bacon. Certainty?
Very likely. Extremely high.
I ordered myself flowers to be delivered when I arrived – a single girl in her thirties having learned, long ago, not to wait for flowers to be sent to her, but instead ordering her own luscious bouquets – and was very glad that I did.
And now? To work. This little studio is mine for eighteen days – my little round cabin in the woods, where there is no noise but the sound of the wind in the trees and the soft clunk of magpies landing on the roof (and then the scuttling around and the pecking…hrm…). It’s going to be a great residency. I still can’t believe I’m here.