From Fellow C.M. Mayo:
In the years of writing, researching, and revising my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (Unbridled Books, May 5, 2009), I enjoyed several intensely productive stays at VCCA. A few sparkles:
In the corn crib studio: Drafting General Achille Bazaine's flashback scenes of 1850s Algeria, Arab music on the CD player, snow falling on the skylight.
At dinner: Chatting with novelist Josephine Humphreys about archives and the influence of the dead.
By the fireplace in the living room: Reading these same pages with Peter Behrens, reading from his novel then in-progress, The Law of Dreams. Eating potato chips with poets Sandra Beasley and Alfred Corn. Trying not to be embarrassed when Alfred (bless him) corrected my French pronunciation.
In Sweet Briar's Library: After checking e-mail, reading Virgil. Rectangles of autumn light falling on the old tables.
One sunny afternoon outside my studio by the barn: Finding Peter Behrens, smoking a cigarette, looking stunned. He'd just written "The End." I thought, yes! It is possible!
Morning on the hill: Mist covering the fields, new calves with their mothers. Arriving at that sign at the entrance to the highway that says, THE REAL WORLD--- and feeling a thrill of gratitude to be able to turn around and walk back up that hill to another day at VCCA.
Pictured: VCCA Fellow C.M. Mayo is a writer in Washington, D.C.