Chris Drangle here, reporting back on a fantastic experience I had earlier this summer. At some point during my career at Tulane I must have tricked someone into thinking that I deserved the Writer’s Residency Prize, an award given each year to a graduating senior in creative writing. So in May I found myself in Avoyelles Parish at Slowness, the home of Rodney and Paige Rabalais, which also serves as organic garden, artists’ residence, and, I would say, four-star restaurant.
I stayed at Zen Cottage for a week, which is about a ninety second walk through the woods in the backyard, and is about nine-hundred square feet of perfect writing environment. It’s quiet, it’s beautiful, it’s comfortable–I recommend putting on Chopin nocturnes late at night and sitting out on the porch trying to guess what animals you’re hearing scurry around in the leaves. Then, obviously, write great poetry about the moon and death.
If you start feeling too isolated, that ninety second walk will bring you great wine, excellent food, and wonderful conversation, courtesy of Rodney, Paige, and friends. I’m telling you, I just graduated from college and I couldn’t keep up with them–these people party every night (admittedly in a more refined way than I usually did as an undergrad–the real world is great!). Prepare for the possibility of manual labor, in case they make you dig up your own food:
And so, as the inaugural Slowness Fellow, I must say to current and future Tulane creative writers: start buttering up your professors (and working hard and writing well, of course). The Writer’s Residency will help you get a ton of work done, and is a blast besides. Much thanks to Paula for making the connection, and more to Rodney and Paige, who will get first copies of my future Pulitzer-winners.