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How to Finish the Year

December 31, 2021

This past summer, Darlene and I applied for the Wintertide Residency at Millay Arts in Austerlitz, New York (near the Massachusetts line, just on the edge of the Berkshires). Millay Arts is located at Steepletop, the home of Pulitzer prize wining poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. The residency would be for the week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve, and we would each have our own studio in which to work. Happily, both of our applications were accepted, so we checked in here on Monday.

Darlene came with the intent to use her time to complete an extensive revision on her novel; I arrived to do research on the television series, as well as work on many of my own projects. Darlene set up in the writing studio, while I chose an artists’ studio. I have never written in an artists’ studio, but there was space and several tables upon which to spread out, and the floor was covered with the paint splotches. I relished being in a room that an aura of so much creativity. I did rewrites on two of my features, one on a television pilot, and another on a stage play. I did some work developing the story for a new feature–and got an idea for yet another, for which I free wrote an outline. And, of course, daily blog posts!

The main building at Millay Arts, the location of our rooms and studios.

It turned out to be a superb residency for us both–we made significant progress on our work, enjoyed a daily walk to get out of our chairs, and as you can see the setting was beautiful. We also had the good fortune to share the space with Maine visual artist Jennifer Schmitt. Jennifer turned out to be both disgustingly talented and a lovely person.

Darlene took this beautiful photo.

As I write this, it is about ten in the morning on New Year’s Eve. We have to be out of here in about two hours, and while we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here, we are sad to see it end. Neither Darlene nor I are interested in leaving–we want to stay and write for as long as we can. Reality, however, has an annoying habit of beckoning. A beckon that cannot always be resisted.

2021 was challenging in so many ways. This was the perfect way to end it. Here’s hoping for a better 2022.

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