I had been struggling with change upon coming here, having experienced a recent loss that had the sting of permanence. But with change winking at me from the hills, brushing past me on my walks, and surfacing in so many conversations, I feel like I know how to do it better now. By letting go, moving through, cycling, accepting, marveling, and sharing.
I arrived in Good Hart four weeks and two days after the release of my first novel, tired, a little beat up, and overflowing with impostor syndrome.
I am not leaving the same person.
I am physically restored. The beauty of this place – this apartment with its beautiful light and comfy bed, and the natural loveliness of Northern Michigan – the fresh air, and my evenings at the beach watching the waves crash and the sun fall into Lake Michigan.
Creatively, I just typed “the end” on the first draft of my second novel. It’s been more than a year and a half coming, writing is an awful lot like mining, groping around in the dark looking for something that will eventually shine, but I found a gem here in Good Hart and I’m astounded by the amount and quality of work I’ve done here. This residency has given me the time and the space to reconnect with my practice and my muse. To find the joy in the work and to fall in love with writing again.
For the painter, there is no place like a well-lit studio with windows that let the sky in. Where light washes away the worries of the world outside – where light vibrates in color. Reminding of the joy it is to feel alive.
To my fellow and future residents: Enjoy this time! Take from it what you need! Reading, writing, walks, leisurely meals, time in the studio. You’re here because someone trusted you to be an artist and do it well.
I have enjoyed every minute of peace this beautiful place has to offer. My time getting to know myself and my practice again is a gift I will treasure always.
People can find a “home” many places in a lifetime… a house… people… experiences that touch your heart. I will always think of this place as just that.
Artists can’t do this intense and difficult work without cleaning their minds and isolating from that real “art world”. Here in this lovely house. I had time to enjoy birds, squirrels, trees, stars, beach, and stones…. Those natural creatures will be my lighthouse when I feel tired.
Your radical hospitality is truly awesome. Thank you for providing a space of peace, healing, and creativity.
This residency came at a time when I needed to clear my head and in two weeks I feel transformed.
The lake a massive compelling body of water that lives and breathes and regulates the breathing of all who come to its shores to “feel” its power. For me, it was the daily walks to the lake and the incredible ancient stones that mesmerized me. I could feel the spiritual undertow and the calm that this body of water must have assured to all who ever lived on its shores.
Last week I was so fortunate to cross paths with the inspiring students at Lakeview, and wander through the woods with these curious young souls.
One who I will call TS, wrote this poem.
Dear Future Generations,
I am in a beautiful place
I know you might not understand.
The birds chirp, wild mushrooms decorate, and colorful flowers grow.
Branches snap, and the whistling wind
is a cool breeze that flows across my face.
We walk on the same soft ground
as all the amazing animals that wander the woods.
The colorful leaves on the trees
mark the season of fall, filled with wonder and beauty.
Dear Future Generations.
Do you remember any of this?
It seemed a more fitting summation than anything I could write here! For two weeks I have been alternating between moments of vast and unnerving productivity and moments of banging my head against these tree house walls. To any writers who read this in the future, remember that there is value in both – that the knocking sometimes dislodges in the imagination that which could never be found in stillness. Thank you for feeding my belly with the most marvelous vegetables and foraged fungi, my ears with the roaring howl of this big ol’ lake, and my eyes with these near-blazing trees!
Bryan Peebles Cofrin-Shaw – September/October 2018
I had a wonderful stay in Good Hart. This was just what I needed. I have been dealing with my own artistic battles. This residency gave me a chance to “coach myself off the ledge”. Thank you for giving me my space along with a pressure-free environment. I hope that I can help with the residency in the future. You’ve got a great program! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I wish you guys nothing but the best.
Steven Walker – August 2015