Residency count down: preparing for the journey

poet photo

In a few weeks I’ll be heading out on my writers residency on an island several hundred miles from here. To prepare for this adventure I have to:

  • work out several hundred thousand logistics with Shrek about the boys. This is no small feat to the co-parenting unit. It will be vacation week, but not for him. In addition he teaches two nights a week, and has five children of his own. We are working out the schedules, the asks for support; “Maybe so and so can take Sam for an overnight and Marcel can…” I am trusting, and staying in the “this is a good thing for me, and for them, and the world one day…” energy as best I can.
  • gather the material to work on. There are several binders auditioning for the part. There are the “old” poems, and the “polished” ones, the “new ones” and the tanker that is carrying the unwritten ones. There are the ones that go together, and the outliers. There are the sweet lines just napping on the margins, or waiting for their moment of glory in the wings. Then there are the essays, the magazine articles, the plans for the play. I am at risk of building Mama C’s Creativity Ark for Forty Days and Forty Nights, when this is only a week. What is my goal? Goals?
  • consider what food I want to bring, so that I am not paying island prices for things I could have brought. Not load myself down in the pack horse category for the bus ride. What little comfort items must come to help the muse to find her way.
  • remember how to write. A poem. From beginning to something else. To this end I have created an almost perfectly monastic and sacred writing space downstairs. I am here this morning, having promised myself I could manage a stanza. Apparently I am working on a blog post, about writing a stanza instead.
  • prepare the boys for this week away from me.
  • prepare me for this week away from them.

But perhaps the most important thing I needed to do, and can say I have checked off my list is taken the artsy, moody, poet self portrait that I will attach to the inside of my mock up jacket to the collection of poetry I am going to complete by the end of the year. I’m pretty pleased with the first take above.

Absolutely open to other suggestions, ideas, and strategies from you seasoned residency goers out there. Or just those of you who travel, create, co-parent or think you have something meaningful to add to the conversation!


  1. The logistics will all work out. Everyone will be fine. Take care of yourself and enjoy this amazing experience Mama! No one in the world deserves it more than you do!

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