A while ago, in the inaugural post of my irregular blog, I said I wanted to talk about reading and writing while at Gullkistan, an artist residency in Laugarvatn, Iceland. Gullkistan is the third residency I’ve attended, so I had a routine in mind for the time I’d spend in Iceland. I knew that I couldn’t spend all my time writing, so I planned on exploring the country (of course; it’s a small country so you can cover a lot of ground) and doing a lot of reading.
Books are heavy and bulky, so I didn’t want to bring a lot of books with me. Most residencies have extensive libraries, so I knew there would be books there to read, so I only brought along three:
The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead, which was thrilling enough to keep me anticipating the next page. I read some of it on the plane on the way to the residency and some of it while there. I had a paperback copy which I had planned on donating to the residency or elsewhere, so I could have room to bring a new book back. This is a trick I learned from my mom-in-law.
MEM by Bethany C. Morrow, published by Unnamed Press. A beautiful and dreamy scifi slipstream novel about what it means to be human and what our memories mean to us.
Welcome to the first post of my irregular blog! Here, I will post about my writing life as it happens. The first post is to recount my writing trip to Iceland and, mainly, to share pictures of this unique island.
In June of 2021, I was a resident at Gullkistan Center for Creativity. Gullkistan hosts artists in every genre, including writers, filmmakers, visual artists, dancers, composers, and more. The center is in Laugarvatn, Iceland, a quiet and friendly little town in the southern part of the country. Gullkistan is near the Laugarvatn Lake and offers lots of opportunity for impromptu hiking and swimming (in the lake, at a local spa, or at a community pool; Icelanders are serious swimmers!).
Gullkistan residencies last generally for a month, but artists can request certain dates within reason. I was at there for about twenty-three days. I went with the lofty goal of writing 30,000 words, but was only able to complete about 20,000 words. Hopefully, a percentage of my work there will be usable! Mostly, I worked on a brand-new novel project, but I also wrote a few poems and started a short horror story.
While at Gullkistan, I did hike and went on a few sightseeing trips with fellow residents (there were two to six of us there during my stay, with artists coming and going). What follows are some of the pictures I took while in Iceland.
In Part 2, I’ll share some videos and some tales about writing and reading.