Virginia Center for the Creative Arts: What Makes a Place Special?

The fine folks at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts are harboring me once again.

I’m working. Editing and thinking about where to put music in the film, and what music. I’m “composing” temp music, which means I spend a lot of time noodling on the guitar, since the soundtrack will be guitar based. You’re surprised, I know.

I’m more than halfway through the residency and it’s been very productive. But instead of showing you the fruits of that productivity, I’d rather show you what makes a place like this special. Oh sure, it’s bucolic and serene, but I realized a long time ago that if you are in the most bucolic and serene place on the planet but surrounded by the wrong people, that place isn’t so special.

Here then, what makes this place special.

The previous resident left a few things on the studio cork board. I kept this poem, since it spoke to me.

Reconcile by Sarah Vap

Joining the poem on the cork board is this—


—given to me by friend Jane Deschner Waggoner. “For your corkboard,” she said. The dog reminded her of photos she had seen on my Facebook page. It does look like my old friend Bruno.

Also, there’s this—

Nectar of the Gods

—which writer Paula W. gave to me when she found out I coveted a blue one (and accidentally “borrowed” it from a forgiving fellow, Roger K). I love this red one though and I think it will be with me for a long time.

In the lunch room some lovely person anonymously taped this list of local birds spotted to the refrigerator (next to three anonymously penned poems about mac & cheese)—

Birds of VCCA

One day after lunch, Caroline W. took a bowl of shells that sits on the table and spread them out before me.

Shell reading.

Several people began interpreting the shells and what they meant. The reading was inconclusive and my future not clearly peered into, but we had a lot of fun all the same.

My future writ in shells.

I have fallen in with three other artists who sing and play musical instruments. We play some nights for our fellow residents. That’s my contribution to this new and temporary family. I know I’m getting the better half of the bargain.


Let my friend Jessica Rosner sum it up. This is her writing on a wall inside the VCCA telephone closet, where fellows are encouraged to make marks, leave impressions, whatever.

Jessica Rosner