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  • Writer's pictureMelody Cooper


I’m Home.

That’s what it feels like when I get here. I’ve been to amazing writer’s residencies before, at beautiful places with views of lakes, Canadian Rockies, the Mediterranean Sea. But here at Yaddo there’s a kind of internal view that opens up. I felt it as soon as I arrived and everyone warmly welcomed me with a smile and look of "Yes! You’re here. You’re one of us now."

It’s a combo of that welcome, the lovely grounds, the nicely appointed buildings and rooms, attention to detail (those metal lunch boxes packed each day and lined up for pick-up in the mansion), and the immediate camaraderie with the other artists from various disciplines that all feels like an embrace within its gates.

There is a deliberate, gentle, passionate care that quickly begins to resonate in the intersection of past, present and future at Yaddo. You feel part of an artistic continuum. Your individual work and connection with other artists are a piece in the mosaic of what has been created, what is being created and what will be created here. It’s in the hum and aura of that energy that artists create here…a place that is ”a practical force in the world for all time.”

My place: Pine Garde

I started being creative as soon as I unpacked, deciding how I would lay out my artistic shrine on an old wooden desk; arrange my honey and tea, wine and rum in my writing studio; set up my books and pictures on a mantle. I made notes on my laptop about an idea that I’d get back to later. All this in a place created with the specific intention to offer “fruitful help and inspiration.” Considering the kind of work I write, which is focused on social issues, it especially moves me that Yaddo is a gift “to those with creative power and who have had the impulse to use it for their fellow men.”

And there are good signs that I’m in the right place and time: within the first hour, my rep let me know about an incredible opportunity, and I learned one of my screenplays was a Finalist at a festival.

I have a writing schedule set up for myself and every moment counts, but it allows for spontaneity, swims, bike rides, dancing, playing, walks, naps, and absolutely doing nothing but being here. I am in my element, and I am infinitely grateful to Yaddo for this opportunity at just the right time in my life and career. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life, and Yaddo helps me feel like the Phoenix in the stunning mosaic over the Mansion’s fireplace that commemorates rising from the ashes, and symbolizes the mission of the Trasks to “guard and augment the sacred fire” of creativity.

Home, Heart, Hearth.

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