So, I drove to Miami over the weekend. Alllll the way down 95, a surprisingly humane trip--sunny weather, not much traffic. Feeling nostalgic at the parade of billboards, I stopped off at South of the Border to walk through one of their countless gift shops. The next day I called my dad and apologized for ever making them stop there. That place is seriously sleazy, even if they do sell real live Mexican jumping beans.
The head of LegalArt was kind enough to come to the residency and get me checked in. It's a developing neighborhood--we were approached by a panhandler as we unloaded suitcases, and the shops six blocks up roll down steel shades over their windows at night. I am the first writer-in-residence, living amidst visual artists, mostly Miami locals but with one woman who came all the way from Argentina. So far our schedules haven't been in sync. But once I switch into night-owl poet mode, I suspect there will be late, long conversations over wine.
Befitting Miami's design aesthetic, the building is very modern, with lots of sharp contrasts and edges. Here is a glimpse of our common space, which includes a kitchen and living room. Typical of art colonies, it also includes a lot of found/assembled bits that might show up in work sooner or later: a stack of pine branches, a plastic Godzilla figurine, a sink of soaking gel-bubbles, a dilapidated amaryllis. We have the option of coming and going via our very pink stairway.
And here is my studio, a corner unit with its own bathroom. I have a couple of specific projects to work on while I'm here--an essay about fathers & daughters, a travel piece on Miami--and I'll be running a few programs, including a residency dinner on writer/poet collaborations and a public seminar on strengthening artistic statements and project proposals. Also...I want to read. A lot. I stayed in my silver-sheeted bed until 1 PM today, finishing Sloane Crosley's How Did You Get This Number. Heaven.