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CJ OKAFOR [info]


Two weeks - August 2023

CJ is a writer based in Chicago who coordinated a residency with a fellow writer from their graduate school cohort (pandemic times) at Columbia College Chicago. As writing is a personal and introspective process, there is not much imagery of CJ in the process of writing. However, she shared this image of the Milky Way taken with an IPhone from the back steps of the Raspberry Residency House.

Part of the intentional timing for CJ's residency was to be on site during the annual Perseids Meteor Shower which happened this year during good dark skies around a new moon. CJ and CT were able to connect their creative friendship for their personal projects as sounding board for each other, and also spend time exploring the land along with campfires on the bluff watching the stars.

Creative inspiration can also emanate from puzzles and games as an intentional disconnect from our regular routines and the demands of busy society. Val discovered CJ was a fan of puzzles and pulled out a mystery Clue option that has no reference as to what the image is. You must put the puzzle together without the references and then solve the mystery presented in the written material. It just so happened that at this time there was a baby bird chicken that had been kicked out of the nest by a big mean mama hen so Val brought her to meet CJ for a session (because of baby loneliness that week).

On the first weekend of the residency term, CT Lisa conducted a writing workshop using techniques of improv. Val, CJ, and a retreat guest with a background in writing participated. This was a really interesting and dynamic gathering to have spontaneity prompts for writing (and techniques to combat blank page writer's block).

Those spending at least two weeks in residency receive a complimentary guided forest therapy walk with Val, certified by ANFT which is a unique process to inherently feel the benefits of nature while focusing on all of your senses as well as sense of wonder and wander. On our scheduled walk that day in August, a large thunderstorm caused us to cut it short and share our final thoughts on the Lemon Lodge front porch as the rain started. A truly one-of-a-kind moment in the liminality process. A Forest Therapy walk can be added onto your residency if staying less than two weeks along with several other add-on options.

CJ and CT were on the farm stay scholarship and worked together on a variety of physical tasks including preparing kindling.

Do you have a professional and fine art practice that you are balancing? Could you use some focus time to put the fine art work first with complete attention? Can you use your off-season for a personal and creative hibernation? Are you interested in a farm stay experience with a bit of intentional physical activity as a creative philosophy for your own work?

If so, what would you create? Apply today.

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