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Writing residency at Sundress Academy for the Arts, TN - March 2023

Last month I traveled to the near future where, at the time, Spring was already fully underway in the Smoky Mountain region outside of Knoxville—the trees beginning to blossom, violets, mayapples, little sweet Betsy, et al—and spent time as the Writer in Residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts. My first official residency of this kind!

This was my first time spending any real length of time in this region and I was really in awe of its beauty. The abundance of Lichen in particular blew my mind—apparently the Smoky Mountains are home to half of all species known to occur in eastern North America. Pictured here is a small branch with at least 4-5 (perceptibly) different types of Lichen on it. I even encountered my elusive beloved, Porpidia crustulata, on my final walk. I fell in love with this land and I will be back again soon.

With the time away and change of scenery I was able to take the much needed focus to reflect on my recent trip to see my family in the DR and envision the next steps in this project. I thought, I wrote, I read.

Much gratitude to Erin Elizabeth Smith of Sundress Academy for the Arts for creating this space for welcoming me to this residency, to my co-residents and companions Ellis, Ash, and little Annie, to the chickens and ducks for providing so many delicious eggs, to the land for revealing a bright sliver of its wonder, and not least of all, to my support system for making this possible in terms of care for Asher that week.

I hope to have some more reflections on my time there soon.


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