I'm at the House of Two Urns, a magical B&B in Chicago this week. It's just a few minutes from the Blue Line's Division stop, but it feels a world away from the busy hustle of Chicago.
I've been here three times now, twice for a writer's retreat and once to continue my dream of seeing all thirty active MLB ballparks. It's a fantastic, welcoming place run by wonderful people who happen to be active in Chicago's literary and artistic community. In the winter, Miguel and Kapra run artist's residencies, which is a clever way to supplement their business during Chicago's frozen winters while enriching the lives of working artists.
What is a residency in this context?
For instance, Two Urns' residencies are one week long because they focus on community, holding dinners, recommending events, and encouraging artists--especially their visual artists--to spend time in Chicago's thriving art scene getting inspired, making contacts, and planning projects. I wouldn't expect to come here to complete an entire body of oil paintings, which would be best done at home. Even a writer might not make much headway with a week of uninterrupted time--although I accomplished much more than I thought I could the last time I came. What I love the most about residencies is the space away from the daily treadmill that makes it hard to plan realistic future events. I often find myself planning my next residency--even applying for it--during my time! It feels like cheating on the current residency, but I'm wild about the psychic distance from my desk at home that allows me to push forward with my writing.
I'll be writing more about residencies, and holding myself accountable to my personal goals this week!