For the next six weeks (May 19 – July 6) I’m a Writer in Residence at Montsalvat. At the moment I don’t have internet access at the residency, so please pardon the intermittent updates.
If you’d like to send me a letter, please do! Words of support are more than welcome.
Devi Lockwood c/o Montsalvat 7 Hillcrest Ave., Eltham VIC 3095 Australia
Before I left Auckland I had coffee with a screenwriter named Gavin who encouraged me to write / pitch to an agent a book of stories from small town New Zealand. I already have 40,000+ words of prewriting, so there’s lots of material to work with. Now I’m revising, bird by bird.
I’m three days into my writing residency at Montsalvat and loving the space and time to write. There’s no internet on site, so if I want to update this blog or check my email, I have to ride my bicycle fifteen minutes and over two hills into town. The library has free wifi, though if I’m too late and they’re already closed, the liquor store also has free wifi. This puzzles me, but I’m not one to question the marvel that is free internet.
As enamored as I am with movement and cycling and the churning motion of meeting new folks on the road every day––stillness, too, is welcome.
I’m getting into a rhythm where I go to bed at 9 or 9:30pm and wake up at 9am. It is such a luxury to have a quiet, comfortable place to sleep every night. I’m catching up on lost sleep. In the evenings I listen to music while I cook and then settle down to eat and relax with a book in hand. Right now I’m working through Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, Vikram Chandra’s Red Earth and Pouring Rain, and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I like having their voices alongside me as I plod along through the work of getting experience down on paper / a screen.
There are several peacocks and twenty other artists who work at Montsalvat (only a handful spend the night) and I am the youngest one here by at least twenty years. This morning I ate muesli with a man who is getting over his break-up by fashioning a cello. His specialty is violins. There are painters and potters. Across the way from my studio is a guitar workshop. A temperamental jeweler lives next door. Ruth is my favorite––she makes glass sculptures and tells the most wonderful, ornate, and hilarious stories.
In the afternoons I go for long runs on backcountry roads and almost inevitably get lost before I find my way home again. It’s a metaphor for the writing process? Something like that. I just know that even when I am still, I have to maintain some kind of movement in my life less I go totally bananas.
And onward I trudge through story after story. Bird by bird.