I am Artist-in-residence at Pendle Hill (PH) for the 8 weeks between the 21st of January and the 17th of March 2016, thanks to a to work on a self-directed project in creative writing and performance. What an honor and opportunity! I brought a half-finished novel and poems and blog entries and an idea for a performance, planning to temper all of these with daily worship, prayer and readings in Quakerism and spirituality.
I met Minnie Jane once years ago. She was the Quaker artist who founded the Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts:
"to nurture and showcase the literary, visual, musical, and performing arts within the Religious Society of Friends, for purposes of Quaker expression, ministry, witness, and outreach. To these ends, we will offer spiritual, practical, and financial support as way opens."The Fellowship has been meaningful in my life, giving me a place to gather with other artists through years of gallery openings including the great Lemonade gallery at the gatherings of Friends General Conference. The visual art has been a backdrop for poetry readings I took part in and once, many years ago, for my solo performance. In addition, Types and Shadows, the publication of the Fellowship of Quakers in the arts has featured my poems and--way back in Issue #17, Spring 2000--my essay on directing Angels in America, "Blessed with More Life." And now, the founder of the Fellowship has made a residency possible at PH.
This journey I am on now started almost a week ago with the previous two blog posts where I reveal my questions and examine my choices. The first step in was a new poem which is with others at the blog Susan's Poetry. A sample of the autobiographical novel I have been writing is in three blog posts from 2012: Alice in Wonder, Ch One Part 1; Alice in Wonder, Ch One continued; and Alice in Wonder, Chapter Two. Though the book is veering in a slightly new direction, my writing style and main character are the same. I think of my protagonist, Dr. Alice N. Deeds, as a conglomerate of Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Alice Paul, Alice B. Toklas, cat women I have known and me.
I am catless at present, but a picture of my dear Miracle Kitty is in the side bar of this blog. She died in 2015 at the age of 21, but I keep her alive as a character in my book.