Monday, April 29, 2013

Away to the Woods, or An Analog Spring

My Spring Home at Camp Wohelo NELP

At NELP, we talk a lot about "interstitial writing." In a student's journal, it's the writing that happens off script, between things--after a class or a backpacking trip, before a solo, when an Emerson essay or Dickinson poem has had some time to filter through her mind and experience and come out on the page in her own voice. It could be personal reflection, or close observation, but it is often the time when the best writing emerges--where the tone is honest, the thought is piercing, and the student is writing like only she can.

I've been feeling like I'm in an interstitial period of my life--on both micro and macro levels. I just turned 30, am 2 years out of grad school, wondering if I should go back, and as a freelancer, in a constant state of flux with projects constantly beginning and ending. That process is something I enjoy--to have an intense project for a spell, then let it go and exist in the world. But I feel that I'm at a place where I'm gathering up and filtering ideas through, observing closely, and thinking hard.

NELP at St. Peter's Rocks Camp Wohelo

Another aspect of this, on a more micro level, is that I am getting ready to go teach in the New Hampshire woods for 2 months, at the New England Literature Program (NELP-- see past posts from/about it here). It's something I've done before--this will be my 4th year as a teacher and I was a student there as an undergrad. While I'm there, I will essentially be off-the-grid, as we relinquish cell phones, computers, recorded music in this 2-month experiment of reading and writing, living communally, making food and playing music and climbing mountains and "living deliberately," as we say, in the Thoreauvian way.

But that means that this space will also be in an interstitial place. While I'll be writing for hours every day and baking regularly, I won't be on a computer or the internet. So in the experiment of that which is NELP, I'm also going to try an experiment here.

Mt. Chocorua at NELP

For the next 2 months, I'm going to be writing my posts long-hand, or typing them on a typewriter, taking film photos (and maybe even developing them--we have a darkroom here), then sending them to a penpal back home, who will post them here, as scanned pieces of paper and photo prints. My friend Morgan of Panda Head has graciously agreed to be that penpal, my analog-to-digital maven.

I'll also be soliciting some posts from friends and collaborating with pie almanac illustrator Elizabeth Graeber while I'm in the woods and galavanting around New England. I'll be sending her little snippets of my adventures, which we'll post here, if they're pie related, on her blog Hand Drawn Bazaar, and saving some for another project.

Thanks for indulging me in this little experiment. I'm not sure how it's going to work exactly, but I'm excited to see what it becomes. For now, jumping off...

Dock Jumpers at Camp Wohelo, NELP Lake Sebago

8 comments:

witchininthekitchen.com said...

Oh man, girl. Wish I could unplug with you for the next two months! So liberating. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. See you on the other side. xo

Elizabeth Graeber said...

can't wait to see what you send!

Shannon said...

This is amazing. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Panda Head said...

yayy I'm with Elizabeth - so excited to see what comes from THE WOODS! and HAPPPPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYY!

emily said...

Thanks Morgan and thx so much for your help!

emily said...

Thank you, Shannon!

emily said...

Can't wait to see your illustrations!

emily said...

Thank you, Jess!