residency

My Swiss residency at Maison Binet conjured some surprising commentary.

Polly Glover sent me this remarkable Facebook message, and I wanted to share it with you.

My aunt, whom I loved dearly, lived in Trélex for 50 years right across the street. As a child, I met Mme. Binet and saw her weaving studio. She was such a beautiful woman, inside and out, as I remember. Madame Binet was close friends with my aunt, who kept up with her family until her death last fall.

When I googled Trélex, with the hopes to return there for a visit one day, your name and adventure came up. The family’s activities surprised and delighted me! How fabulous the artist in residence must be, especially in the village of Trélex.

Please take the strength from Trélex with you as you go out into the world, knowing you have been touched by an angel in Mme. Binet. Do what you love. She would want that. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures while in Trélex and wish you the best of life.

I love the thought of her protecting and inspiring the artists and writers who visit. Given everything I’ve been through in recent years, her message gave me much comfort.

And surprise! Even meticulous writers like me make gaffes.

A few corrections on the information I posted about Maison Binet, straight from the Trélex Residency’s curator.

Small correction on the story. Nina Rodin merely rents the place. The landlady’s father was Jean Binet, a composer. She was born in the house 80 years ago. The house is named after the composer now, but construction started in the 17th century. Some of it, including the yellow facade, is 19th century. It was a trading post for horse drawn transport between Switzerland and France. The space under the roof, now the studio, was probably the main warehouse space.

writer-in-residence

As you read this post, I’m on a plane bound for my next stint as writer-in-residence. I spent a month in Wales last year finalizing Hard to Die. Today, I’m headed for three weeks in Trélex, Switzerland.

My mission? To find the voices the drugs quashed during months-long treatment for toxoplasmosis retinitis, an incurable parasitic disease that’s causing me to go blind. With any luck, I’ll emerge with a complete draft of my next speculative thriller I Am Number 13.

More on that as it develops.

What It’s Like to Be Writer-in-Residence

  1. It isn’t a vacation. To earn a residency, I must submit a proposal for my project-in-residence. The director will expect me to work every day, share my work with other residents, and volunteer to enhance the program. Yes, I’ll be in an inspiring location near Lake Geneva. Yes, I’ll spend some portion of each day savoring it. But being a resident is WORK.
  2. I’ll be living with strangers. I’ll share space dorm-style with at least four other artists. We’ll use the same bathroom and cook in the same kitchen. I’m the only American. I’ll negotiate my way with rudimentary French (and hope everyone speaks English!)
  3. I’m an ambassador for my country. And isn’t THAT fraught with crazy these days? Whatever one may believe about America’s position in the world, leaving the United States usually educates a person about being American. Most people will have stereotypical ideas about who and what Americans represent. As much as I’d like to leave everything controversial at home, I must represent my country. I hope I’ll do a good job.
  4. I’ll produce a torrent of words. Whenever I sequester myself, I produce around 25,000 words a week. Our world is noisy, but it’s a distraction from the music of the voices who speak when I’m silent. Residencies are an opportunity to be still and listen. Cross fingers the voices will return!!
  5. I’ll make new friends. Residencies challenge my boundaries and expose my prejudices. As I break down my own barriers, I’ll connect with people who are different. A couple of those souls will become lifelong friends, barometers to moderate my views on what citizens of other nations are like.

I can’t wait to get started!

While I’m on residency, I’ll be absent from social media. If you comment, Jendi will respond for me.

YOU CAN STILL FOLLOW MY RESIDENCY.

I plan to send Jendi weekly updates on my progress. She will post them here. Make sure you don’t miss a thing. Subscribe to my website updates by email.

Like my Author Page on Facebook. Jendi will post periodic photos and quick snippets from my residency. She may have something new every day. We’ll see what my internet situation is when I get there!

For insider information, join my Elite Reader Group on Facebook. This group always gets details curated just for them. I may ask them questions about plot points as I’m on residency. Recently, I even asked them for suggestions to use in a key part of my current story. Jendi will also do a weekly digest email especially for this group.