By Linda Caldwell, Director, WCDH-
What could you accomplish if you had a week or two to focus exclusively on your writing, with all your needs taken care of, no interruptions, no TV or chores or kids to distract you? Your days and nights to yourself, with the time and space to work at your own pace, in your own way?
In the historic arts community of Eureka Springs, two adjacent houses, surrounded by trees, contain eight suites with private baths, bedrooms and writing rooms. There are two shared kitchens, several large decks and two large gathering rooms with tables big enough to spread out, if that’s how you work. This is the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow.
For breakfast and lunch you can fetch supplies or leftovers, fill your basket and take it back to your room or kitchen. All suites have mini fridges and coffee makers. But dinners are special: Monday to Friday, Colony kitchen goddess Jana prepares beautiful and satisfying gourmet dinners for writers to share while gathered around a big table. It’s a time to socialize, unwind, process your work, get and share ideas in a creative flow.
To qualify, one doesn’t have to be a published writer, have a bestseller, be famous or have an agent. The only requirements are to step up, fill out a simple application form, have a plan for what you’ll work on while in residence, and submit a sample of your work.
Introspection and modesty dog the writer’s journey. Self-deprecating assumptions can stifle all forward movement: “Oh, I’m not a real writer. I’m not famous enough yet, eligible, educated, etc.” Our literary heroes have used those same disclaimers. And yet, given the opportunity and grace of uninterrupted time in a perfect environment, with solitude, support and meals, many residents astound themselves with the level of productivity they achieve and the quality of the writing they produce.
But no one can write all the time. When it’s time to take a break from the printed page, residents only have to step outside the door to find beautiful trails to wander, or streets lined with Victorian and Queen Anne houses to stroll. The entire city of Eureka Springs is on the National Historic Register, and residents are very careful to preserve the historic accuracy of their homes and public buildings. Downtown streets are lined with galleries and funky little shops filled with hand-crafted and unique items. The Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library is worth a visit, and it’s only a half-mile stroll from the Colony.
On weekends, when Jana is not preparing dinner, Eureka Springs offers more than 42 sit-down restaurants with all kinds of cuisines, from burgers to more elegant offerings.
How much does this cost? The fee is $55 a night, including food, with a one-time Internet fee and a cleaning fee. That means you can get seven days and nights for $430. There is a one-week minimum stay and a three-month maximum.
Check it out on the website, www.writerscolony.org, or visit the Facebook page to see what other writers say about it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/149738778602/?ref=br_tf