In the first days, we were in a dream-like state of wonderment. The visuals of the house and of the forest, and the reverberation of the landscape drugged us. We rejoiced in liberty. We looked each other in the eye and joined in creation.
We wrote a lot in the first several days. We carried our notebooks throughout the house and experienced each room. Sometimes we did freewriting, and allowed poems and incomplete thoughts to fill our individual pages. Melissa took a lot of our freewriting through the songwriting practices that she diligently studies and practices with her professors and music students. With Melissa and I, what one is an expert in the other is (at the least) an expert in the philosophy of. In this way, we crafted the songs together line by line. We were (for the first time) in a space wholly focused on applying the lessons of poetry and music that we have found so far.
We entered our northern Michigan stay with 12 incomplete grooves. Our intention was for these grooves to serve as backbones around which we could flesh out complete songs. And it worked well that way. Our breaks from creating included amazing in-season, local and organic foods. Conversation largely centered around newly emerging reflections on the experience we were sharing.
We commented on the feelings. We played with shared definitions. We smiled and hugged (a lot). We celebrated the way that creativity and love are affected when given time. And space.
One of the times we ventured out into the surrounding communities (we didn’t explore extensively but we went to East Jordan, Ellsworth and Bellaire), I reflected that the experience was as if
We were painters who had canvas and brushes at home.
We even had most of the paint that we needed.
Only no red.
And no yellow.
Melissa and I work hard. We often work nonstop for extended periods of time. We have agreed that it is valuable to practice balance and our nightly music making is part of how we found we can best do that. We have the tools we need to create. We have many of the elements that we need to create. We were struggling with space and time. ISLAND and the Hill House gave us these, our red and our yellow.
It was like someone said,
“Come we’ve made a place,
We invite you to use it
Bring your paints (or just use ours)
We have red.
We have yellow.”
We are now reflecting on what we have brought home. Tonight, we played a song that we wrote in those first days about those first days. It felt wonderful.
We are continuing to experience amazed admiration of the vision and dedication Amanda and Brad Kik offer the art community. We are thankful for the time we got to spend with Elly. We thoroughly enjoyed the potluck with ISLAND staff and board members. We are thankful for all who make ISLAND live, including the National Alliance of Artist Communities. We were interested to learn of the tremendous resource this national organization has been for ISLAND.
We would like to help support the residency model (in general) and the Hill House Residency (in particular). We believe that residencies are ridiculously valuable.