From Witt to Wyoming: Professor Fallon's Sabbatical
The author of a memoir (So Late, So Soon), professor D’Arcy Fallon is looking to add a work of fiction to her resume. During her sabbatical last semester, D’Arcy traded her life in Springfield, Ohio, for a month in the fields of Wyoming, looking for open spaces and time for her writing. Attending a writers retreat (through the Ucross Foundation), D’Arcy was surrounded by motivated artists, who, despite varying projects (from visual art to fiction writing), shared a common goal – creative output. Here’s what D’Arcy had to say about the experience:
Q: Why Ucross?
D’Arcy: I was looking for an opportunity to go away and write during my sabbatical…to be honest with you I didn’t want to go away during the summer, because I wanted to be able to use my swimming pool…I applied to go to the Ucross—and they take artists from all different genres…there were Jazz musicians, painters, fiction writers, poets—all kinds of different artists… So I applied to go during October, because I thought it would be really beautiful…and I was accepted. I chose it because I wanted a period of time and it was free. The only thing I had to pay for was my airfare, and that was an amazing deal. So I flew out there, and I was treated fabulously—they really, really respect what you are trying to accomplish as an artist.
Q: In your blog you wrote a lot about the artist community , and how there’s a sense of community but there’s a lot of time spent alone—did these complement each other or was it a conflict?
D’Arcy: Everybody is really, really respectful of privacy. The group I happened to be with was very dedicated (I mean, it was sort of awesome): you get up in the morning and you have your breakfast, and then you go to your studio…and they [the staff] come at noon (whispers) and knock on your door and they bring you a little bag. They don’t even want to disturb you while you’re working. It was just amazing. The work ethic was incredible. But at night we’d all come together for dinner…that was the one time that we absolutely—no cell-phones, no laptops at the table—you’re there to talk and converse…and they had this gourmet chef from Mill Valley, California…so dinner was awesome.
Q: In your blog you wrote about all of the time spent alone (“I've been sitting at my desk for six hours, more or less”)…were you lonely?
D’Arcy: I got a little a weird…I got homesick. I think probably if I could do it over again maybe three weeks instead of four. I started to really miss my family. When you think you want to go and you want to write, and that’s all you want to do, I’m telling you—eight hours, by yourself, in a room is a long time to be alone. And nobody’s saying “Okay. The door is locked now. You can’t leave!” You can come and go; nobody’s checking-up on you. You could go for a walk, or we had little bicycles that we could ride around, and it was really fun—you could hike around, but you are there to work. The other thing is—most of the people there were quite a bit younger than I was, so sometimes I felt a little bit lonely about that, too.
Q: On average how much did you write each day?
D’Arcy: About six hours…and that’s time also staring off into space, and taking notes and revising…I probably wrote about 100 pages there. And some of it I was revising, but there was a whole lot that was new. I produced a lot of new work. And that was good.
-- Caleb Murray, '13