Since My Time At Elsewhere - Liz Cantrell

It’s been about five months since I left Elsewhere Studios, but the time I spent there is never far from my mind. I cherished my two month residency in creative writing and felt very productive in terms of my writing practice and habits.

As far as life after Elsewhere, much has changed. When I arrived, I was in limbo. I had a strange year before my residency. I quit a job, moved home, and felt in flux. I came to Elsewhere seeking to fill a gap in my summer plans before graduate school, and to have space and freedom to write creatively before turning to more academic writing. When I left Elsewhere two months later, I went on a five week hiking and camping road trip, and then quickly moved to New York City to begin graduate school (as had been my plan.) I’m still on track, am enjoying school, and excited for this phase of my education.

However, swamped as I am by grad school commitments, I hate to admit that I haven’t kept up with personal writing as much as I would like. I do journal regularly, but I have put aside deeper creative writing projects, as I primarily write for school now.

Still, my time at Elsewhere continues to shape other aspects of my writing, my career, and my life. Elsewhere restored a sense of a creative arts community, which I had been craving. Elsewhere taught me not to apologize for my interests or passions, and to protect my creative/artistic time. I found a certain stillness, a peace, at Elsewhere. Living in the hectic environment of New York City, I frequently reach for this stillness. I also frequently romanticize the beauty of the North Fork Valley and the spirit of Paonia. How I miss that quirky town.

As someone who came to Elsewhere not as a full-time artist pursuing a specific project or series of projects, but as a wanderlust soul in transition, I believe Elsewhere guided me emotionally and mentally. My residency was one of reflection, experimentation, and excitement for what was ahead. I am indescribably grateful for my Elsewhere experience. While brief, it will remain one of the most free, open, and rich times of my life.