As several writers and residency staff have noted, today marks exactly one month since the International Writing Program started. We've had a month to unpack, set up bank accounts, attend readings and panels, prepare for readings and panels, meet students, meet other writers, buy books, watch films, explore the library and the river and the town, drink wine, drink beer, play pool, befriend the wine guy, dance to a jukebox, go to music gigs, attend a barn party, drink apple cider at an orchard, go rambling in the woods, celebrate Grito de Dolores (Mexican independence day), and soak up lots and lots of sunshine.
Oh, and write. Lots of that too, truly. My own writing is proceeding at a snail's pace, as usual, but I can't say I don't have the time to sit down and think and read and write.
I tweeted quite early on that being in this programme "is like being at a really great writers festival everyday." Which it still is. It's rare to be in a social group where everyone intuitively understands what everyone else does, even though we all do it in different genres and languages and styles, and in such varied and contrasting social situations. If nothing else, these are all fascinating people whom otherwise I would have never had the chance to meet. And the nice thing about it being such a long residency, in addition to giving us time to write and develop ideas, is that there's also time to sit and chat and develop conversations and friendships, in ways that are simply impossible at regular literary festivals when people are always dashing from one event to another.
Tomorrow we're off to Chicago on a mid-residency trip. I've heard that they insert this trip so that people don't go stir crazy from being in Iowa City for ten weeks straight.