Writer’s Retreats, Feral Cats, and a New Kind of Adventure

Now, I don’t know what your typical Mainer does… yes, I do. Your typical Mainer who is sick of winter goes to Florida. It’s the law. You want to get out of this arctic wasteland, that’s where you go. Stick a fork in you–you are in Florida and you are done. But me, I have to buck the system. I wanted to leave this place during the darkest, snowiest days of winter, but I could not go on vacation. I’m working. Hell, I’m always working. I’ve got a couple books to write, a blog to keep up with, a podcast in the works. It’s endless. I wanted good weather, sure, but I wanted more than that:

Seeking Unique Getaways, I researched writers residencies

So, after extensive googling, I found this site called resartis.org, which lists writer’s and artist’s residencies literally all over the world where you can go and just work while also meeting other working artists that might have a few free minutes to meet interesting people like yourself. Might seem weird, but that’s the kind of social environment I like—where people are around but we don’t necessarily have to hang out with each other. Writers are like feral cats that way.

You have to apply for these things, and they don’t just take anyone, but I guess I’m all that because I got accepted to Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in California, then Studio88 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Now, I’ve traveled internationally, especially in Asia, mostly to research books, but staying at a writer’s and artist’s residency will be a new experience for me.

The Studio88 residency

is especially for artists and writers working on pieces around pollution. I happen to be writing a book about agriculture right now, which deals a lot with modern GMO farming and the rampant pollution it causes, so they accepted me based upon that, which is pretty cool because I think the other participants are all fine artists doing far more artsy, conceptual stuff. I even got them to agree to arrange for me a tour of a terraced Thai rice farm where I can interview the farmers about their use or non-use of agricultural pesticides. Pretty cool!

Dorland Mountain Arts

It’s just a place for writers to rent little cabins where they can live while they complete a project. For most people, it’s to get away from their kids and work, but for me it’s to get away from my power tools and my home’s constant need for additional renovations. And, of course, to get away from Maine’s gray skies, snow, and ice. They have little get togethers at Dorland for the writers in residency, though, so it still has that feral cat quality of a makeshift writer’s society.

To prep for this wild adventure I have had to get: a cat sitter, plant sitter, snow shoveler, security system, mouseproofing system, car storage, passport, traveling gear, replaced locks and fix my busted shoulder so it doesn’t ruin my trip… an endless list of prep for a three-month exodus. But, it’s done. And pretty soon, I’ll be off enjoying a feral cat’s idea of a semi-social, hard-working good time. I’ll keep you posted!

Contact me if you have any questions or want to hear more about my adventures!

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