Jentel. The award included a $400 stipend, a private writing studio, a private bedroom, and a fabulous community kitchen and living area that I shared with the other five residents: another writer, and four visual artists.In 2003, I was awarded a month-long residency at
Jentel sits at the base of Wyoming’s majestic Big Horn Mountains on the historic ranchland of Lower Piney Creek Valley. Renovated from old ranch buildings, seven separate buildings form the residency village. Sage and native grasses blanket the landscape. There are four private artist’s studios. The two separate writer’s studios, housed in a log cabin about 100 feet from the main house, come equipped with antique desks, bookshelves, recliners, ergonomic chairs, and reading lamps. Mine had a red enameled fireplace and a red stained glass window.
Wyoming Ridge." Leslie was creating a hanging yellow wallpaper installation. Terry worked in charcoal and had us each pose for a portrait. Dehlia, the glass artist from Philadelphia who painted everything backwards, admitted that she feared the dark expanse of grassland that stretched beyond the borders of the village yard. They all assumed that because I was from Wyoming, the wide open spaces didn't frighten me.
Millicent Borges Accardi, a poet from California who had done residencies at Yaddo, Vermont Studio, Fundación Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain, and Milkweed in Cesky Krumlov, would occasionally stand at our adjoining doors and read a few lines of her poetry. I would share a scene or two from the novel I was working on. Sometimes, we wandered over to the artists’ studios and peeked in on their work. The month we spent at Jentel was a centering time, a time to re-balance the priorities in our lives. For four weeks, we imersing ourselves in our own internal creative landscapes. The creative endeavors of those weeks are still coming to fruition. Millicent's first chapbook, Woman on a Shaky Bridge, was just published by Finishing Line Press.
Neltje, the founder and benefactor of Jentel, is the granddaughter of publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday. She is Jentel’s driving, visionary force. "An author has the ability to communicate a reflection of our present day society," writes Neltje, "and perhaps forecast a possible future if we could only listen...Old societies know the worth of art. We of the United States are young and foolish and not yet steeped in wisdom."
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