For the past month I have been taking part in the Artists in Residence program at Caldera in Central Oregon. What that means is: some nice folks here have allowed me to live in one of their fancy A-frame cabins (as pictured below) for a month so I can Get Writing Done.
In the summertime Caldera is a camp for kids that focuses on facilitating engagement with the arts; in the winter Caldera is home to the Artists in Residence program; and year-round they run programs and art projects with young people in Central Oregon and Portland.
The Caldera property – so named because it’s situated by a collapsed volcano cone or caldera that is now a deep, spring water lake called Blue Lake – is surrounded by ponderosa pines and at this time of year a healthy coating of snow.
In addition to the stunning and inspiring environment (that’s the view from my A-frame cabin balcony above) the Caldera residency has been a tremendous gift of time. I don’t think I’ve ever had a month away from the world where I’ve had the luxury of writing only (although let me assure you that self-administration tasks like showering were also undertaken on a regular basis).
I’ve been working on new projects, looking back over old ones and editing my forthcoming second novel. But it hasn’t all been fun and games. I’ve also done some serious work such as honing my snowball-hurling skills. Here I am celebrating a lengthy snowball throw with a look of unabashed emotion.
And because I really want you to be impressed with my snowball-hurling skills:
Thanks to my fellow-resident Emily Squires for that photo and Ems – apologies for Microsoft Paint-ing all over it.
A sure highlight of the month was last Friday when I took an afternoon out of my residency to visit Sisters Middle School (Sisters is the nearest town to Caldera) where I spoke about being an author and took some writing workshops. The students were just delightful. We talked about my books, other authors’ books (even better) and Australian stereotypes (we decided it was hideously unfair that marsupials like kangaroos had a monopoly on pouches).
Anyway, this isn’t an Oscars speech but thanks for having me Caldera – y’all rock! And whether I go on to be more prolific as a writer or as a snowball-hurler, know that you’ll always have my gratitude for the winter of 2014.