September 1st was the first day of my retirement! I have been worried about this new stage of my life, despite the obvious benefits. I realized I have been concerned that my life may shrink, especially since writing is a very solitary activity. I am committed to the writing, of course, but I had worked out earlier in the summer, and especially in relation to the residency I undertook on Crete, that I need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by residency programmes. They offer the means to "get away" from home at least some of the year in order to pursue an artistic project. Over the past week I have looked at hundreds of residency programs from around the world, and have picked out half a dozen in which I am particularly interested. One had a deadline for August 30th, so I submitted an application right away, for a residency in Italy next May. This required re-organizing my CV, which for four decades has been oriented towards my scientific contributions. I restructured it so that my artistic contributions over the past few years are presented front and centre. The science is still there, but it follows later. Still, it makes for a 30 page CV, a bit overwhelming, really.
Over the weekend I completed the 3 day novel contest again, for the fifth time. Following my trip to Natashquan last week, I had decided to develop a kind of "ode" to the Saint Lawrence river in addition with developing a fictional treatment of issues around gender fluidity in today's society. A tall challenge, but one which excites me, and a new venture in my writing, the first time I have completed a strictly contemporary novel.
In addition to the writing initiatives, I am also active again in the development of several new fashion collections. I noticed that many of the residencies offer facilities that favour textile artists as well as writers, so I am hoping to be able to combine these interests in applying for residencies. I just have to come up with a great project! I cobbled together something for the Italy submission, I hope it will be well received, but I intend to work on developing a stronger proposal for other residency applications in the coming months.
I always like to post an image with my blog postings. I have been continuing my work on illustrating my different books - I have more than 40 now! Here is an illustration for one of my science fiction novels, "Gratia : The Second Book of Deo". It is an underwater city. It has taken me a long time to come up with an image with which I am reasonably happy, although I probably will continue to tinker with it!