Djerassi and Home

I just returned from a month at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Now that I’ve been back for a couple of weeks, my perspective on the time I spent there is coming into sharp focus. I am deeply honored to have been invited to share a month of writing and shared life with nine other artists – seven invited artists and two talented Djerassi program managers.
Creatively, I spent the month moving between two worlds. I wrote some new material for the ending of Among the Wonderful, and throughout the month corresponded with my editor, Roland Pease, on various minor revisions. This process was a joy; after the years-long quest to find a publishing home for my novel, engaging in conversation with someone as eager to discuss my book as I am is a gift I won’t be taking for granted anytime soon. I also plunged further into the research for my next book, The Gyre. This involved plowing through a couple of volumes of Russian and Russian Orthodox history, mythology, and folklore, arctic narratives, and of course, Salomon Andree. A full month to write, read, wander across the Santa Cruz hills amid redwoods and sprawling oaks, above the fog and among large-scale art installations, and share meals and evenings with artists from all over the world? Whew. The hardest part was staying open to all the beauty and inspiration around me; overstimulation was the only peril. Here is some information about the amazing artists I lived and worked with:

Mariko Nagai
Josh Beamish
Jutta Strohmaier
Molly Bain Frounfelter
Lauren DiCoccio
Tra Bouscaren
Eduardo Caballero
Csilla Babinszky
Kristofer Mills

Of course, as the weeks went on I missed home, and that particular homesickness was itself a tremendous gift. I missed Jason and our country life in the city. While I was away, J harvested fava beans, chamomile, and lettuce. He watched the raspberries ripen and the blueberries emerge in dense clusters out front. Our sunflowers grew four feet. At the community garden the potato patch sprung up and the pink-lemonade climbing rose went wild. I missed riding my bike and hanging out at Actual Café. For the first time since we moved here two years ago, I missed Oakland.