July 20, 2019
The last two weeks have been magical, productive, inspiring and, dare I say, fun. I’ve managed to get 106 pages and counting into a radical revision of a novel I’d begun years ago and shelved. The story is getting weirder and better as I go. The first unexpected leap of inspiration came early in the residency. As I mentioned to the Kress Pavilion workshop participants, my main character began to lie to a stranger, funneling New Age mystical speak he’d heard elsewhere and scoffed at. The arc of the story now seems to be moving from opportunistic disbelief to, perhaps, the path to wisdom and peace — all while gangsters and miscreants blast their way through an action-driving plot. Fortunately, I brought a couple of desk copy books I’m considering for an unusual course, texts that treat the subject of the writing life as a whole rather than the usual how-to manuals. They both take a decidedly spiritual approach to artistic production, and the zen-inspired language provides a great voice for my con-man character’s guru rap. Coincidence? A message from beyond? More likely my inner voice telling me where to go. At any rate, the writing has been exciting — especially the time spent in the Coop. I just got caught in there today in a heavy downpour. Talk about romantic.
I’ve also done as much exploring as I could manage without neglecting my work. I’ve ridden my bike to one of the nearby villages each night for dinner, often meeting locals or visitors — almost all of whom loved to hear about Write On. I also took a day off and rode up to Northport, took the ferry to Washington Island (joined the Bitters Club) and rode back. One of the best bike rides I’ve ever taken. No lie.
All to say, thank you all for the warm hospitality. Let me know if there’s any way I can help. Be well!
Kelly Daniels (Le Claire, IA)
Novelist and memoirist, author of Cloudbreak, California