“I’ve always loved the artist’s hut and never been in. Then today you appeared in the doorway! I felt your warmth and kindness. Just so many lovely words and pictures to enjoy.” Open Day visitor
During my residency at Bucks Mills Cabin, I move between books and poems set by the sea, my own thoughts about growing up on this coast, and the stories I collect from visitors. These words are set around me like a bird’s bower, inviting those who spend time with me to write as well: Here is a pen, I say, and paper. Write me how it feels: Here, now. In this way, we share a while in the peace, effort and concentration experienced by the Cabin’s former owners, Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards.
The Cabin — like the tiny island on which the Moomin creator Tove Jansson and her partner lived and worked for decades — is a powerful symbol for me of female dedication to a simple life of creative practice and closeness to nature. I’ve had photos of the Cabin by my writing desk for years, so to be resident here myself is a heady feeling.
“So beautiful. There is such a grace in your writing.” Aurélie Baudrier, Head of Communications, Jan Michalski Foundation.
I was privileged to be an inaugural-year recipient of a residency at this leading European foundation for writing and literature, staying in one of 7 new architect-designed ‘treehouses’. The Foundation describes its mission as being “to foster literary creation and encourage the practice of reading through a range of initiatives and activities. These include mounting exhibitions and cultural events that have a connection with writing and literature, making a large multilingual library available to the public, awarding an annual prize in world literature, granting financial support, and…hosting a writer-in-residence program.” The residency was awarded so that I could devote my time to completing the Wild Patience Scrolls, while locating them in an international context.
“Elegant, humble.” Dr Martin Shaw, mythologist and story-teller
Writing a mile on scrolls of paper as long as the pool, I asked swimmers at Pells and beyond this question: When did you feel most wild and free? In your body? Your mind?