For the first time, VCCA is shutting down for the Christmas holiday. Which means that by the 22nd, when I leave, the place will be empty, and because work is beginning tomorrow on all the visual artists’ studios, they have begun to leave already. Most people here have been here before and report that the vibe is strange, which I agree with.
I worked on two stories today. One is called “Counterpoint” and the other is called “Points of Light” and I didn’t even notice the overlap in titles until just now because I did one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I was a bit stuck on the second one until I took a walk in the woods and then I understood the direction it needed to take. I only did a few pages of each, but the voices I think were sufficiently established that I’ll be able to pick up the thread when I come back to them in a few weeks or whenever. At lunch, a couple of the visual artists, Liz and Fiona, had open studios and it was great to see their work.
After dinner we had another reading. First Vivian Teter read some of her poetry–very good stuff–and I read the first several pages of “Nanking Mansion.” Then we had a memento swap, something Fiona imported from her previous stint here. Many people either contributed a writing or made something (three of the visual artists actually contributed a print, a poet made a wreath, a couple of people brought chapbooks, I printed out from the web a flash fiction piece that will be live in a few days) and then we drew names out of a hat to see what we got in return. I received “D.C. Poets Against the War,” an anthology edited by Sarah Browning, one of the poets who is with us.
And then a bunch of us wanted to play scrabble, so many that we had to make teams. The team of Ira and Cliff kicked ass.