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Novelist / Blogger about Books, Reading, and Book Culture

1 Week - October 2023

Devon Flaherty is based in Durham, North Carolina and made the road trip with her four-legged sidekick for a week intensive to work on her current novel in the Young Adult genre. With this quiet space and opportunity to walk the land, Devon reconnected to her inner child and her current novel's main character - a teen who lives on a farm in Appalachia and has a donkey. So of course, venturing to a residency in the foothills of Appalachia with 15 donkeys can be integral to that particular creative project and journey.

Find and follow Devon on her blog "The Starving Artist" that she began in October 2012 that has over 860 subscribers at the 9 year mark. So if you have found this, head over and subscribe to her work by clicking on the photo below or the links to the articles.

Appropro to this writer's work as a blogger, is her first article/post titled "A Meandering History of the Starving Artist". Many of us wonder and grapple with this societal phenomenon. Some of us figure out how to split our lives between what provides an income to 'survive' to be able to pursue the passions of our creative spirit that keeps us alive. With new social media over the last two decades, some have even figured out the special sauce or caught the wave at the right time to support themselves in a creative discipline. This is a story old as time and also one that may cause us to have imposter syndrome, doubts, or distractions that bury our creative spirit. Each of our journey's are unique and maybe by reading this post or reading more of Devon's work we can help one another with moral support and more.

In her second blog post "My Meandering History as a Starving Artist", Devon gives us a brief glimpse into her world and life as a writer from childhood to adulthood. Like many of us facing life challenges and hit by unexpected scenarios like accidents, health issues, or unexpected financial issues that hit the country or the globe, Devon connects not only with the readers of this article, but most of us in general, on how we navigate and sustain. Since the start of her blog, Devon has self-published novels and maintained an active foot in the writing world as a critic in book reviews, an analyzer of social culture, and an overall advocate for the joy of reading and importance of books in society. She has participated in several NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) which is annually the month November to write 50,000 words, and this October she wrote an article of advice - Preptober.

Devon is an example of an artist that can thrive in a residency and also utilize a break to experience physical activity as a contribution to the site via the farm stay scholarship program. After helping with cutting kindling, the next day when I saw Devon she mentioned that she had been typing ALL day and that her hands hurt. I asked if she liked to paint, and the answer was a resounding "yes! I love to paint everything" which meant she was the perfect person in the perfect place and time to help contribute to the organic art project that is the camp and residency.

The Raspberry Residency House has been undergoing a fresh cosmetic update in 2023 including bright raspberry color exterior. The idea is to fill the front of the house with flowers and maybe a bird or dragonfly. To start the process, fun stencils were purchased to start the project (not sure when a muralist will be passing through) and Devon was masterful in use of color and blending, then organized all of the paints for others to continue the work on the rest of the area. This building can be seen from the road and it's really exciting to bring art and happiness in general in an unexpected rural setting for passersby and the people on site to see no matter what season.

The farm stay scholarship requires an interview after the application. The type of work that you'll have the chance to experience won't be known until you are on location. It can vary from an artistic contribution like these flowers to something more physical like bamboo (see Jess Burgess post) or collecting rocks (see CT Lisa's post). This type of activity is a creative philosophy in that your mind can process what you are working on creatively while you engage in the physicality forgetting about that work or being able to ponder (whistle while you work - method). The current scholarship is a work exchange for a residency fee deduction and approximately 6 hours (per week, max two weeks and different for month-long residencies).

Because we are all on a unique individual journey and likely are balancing professional world with our creative passions, all creative people are eligible to apply for a residency and a special attention will be given to those who have nature as a muse, collaborator, or co-conspirator. Could you use some focus time to put your writing or artistic craft first with complete attention? Can you use a week or two of a personal and creative hibernation?

If so, what would you create? Apply today.

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