This post is dedicated to Sandra Lambert, my inspiration and friend, who has been awarded a well-deserved residency at Yaddo.
Every writer dreams of a writers’ retreat, a place where she* can go for a month or so to be free from the demands of family and friends and the chores of daily life, a place where she can spend all day as she chooses. In her dreams she chooses to write.
There are many writers’ retreats now, in various idyllic settings in the United States and abroad, but perhaps the most venerable and prestigious are The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. Established at the beginning of the last century, these two have hosted the luminaries of American literature and other creative arts, both those who have entered the canon and those who are unknown or long-forgotten, as most writers are.
The problem with Yaddo and McDowell and all the other retreat centers is that they are highly selective. They pride themselves on providing space and time to writers of the highest quality; most successful applicants have already been published in prestigious literary journals. Where can the poor scribbler, toiling daily with her pen, unheralded, unsung, perhaps unstrung, find support for her efforts?
We are proud to announce that, thanks to the generosity of the Clarence T. Yucko Foundation, there is now a place for the mediocre writer to dally with her muse. The Foundation has endowed the Yucko Artists’ Colony and Retreat in Heavenly Haven, Florida. Every summer in August thirty fortunate writers will be afforded the opportunity to dedicate themselves solely to their art in a four-week, all-expenses-paid residency. They will enjoy solitude during the day, and fellowship with other writers at night. We predict that from this caldron of creativity great quantities of verbosity will rise like steam.
Applying to Yucko
In line with egalitarian principles, Yucko’s philosophy is that the average person of no particular talent should be recognized and rewarded. Recall Senator Hruska’s famous words defending the nomination of Harold Carswell to the Supreme Court. “...[T]here are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?” We believe the same principle should apply to writers.
The primary criterion for the Yucko Residency is prolixity. Along with the application form, the application calls for a writing sample of no fewer than 50,000 words. Of course the admissions committee will not read these, but the word limit will be strictly enforced, and any submission below the minimum will be discarded. (Applicants may, however, provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the return of their materials if they desire.)
And because our intent is to reward those writers hitherto unknown, publication by any non-subsidy publisher or literary journal shall disqualify candidates. A hist ory of self-publication or blogging, however, is no bar to admission.
Yucko is housed at the former Sleep Eze-y Motel on the outskirts of Heavenly Haven, near the interstate. This charming lodge has thirty-five fully-furnished guest rooms equipped with coffee-maker, microwave, and small refrigerator, with bathrooms en suite. Each room contains a single bed, a dresser, a desk, and a chair. The rooms are air-conditioned with window units, so that each resident may control the environment. Mosquito netting is provided, though residents should bring their own insect repellent. We recommend repellent with DEET of 25% or higher.
To avoid distraction, television and telephones have been removed from the rooms, but the spacious lobby, which also serves as the breakfast room, contains a television. Cell phone reception is spotty in Heavenly Haven and not to be relied on. Residents may use the telephone at the front desk. Should residents need internet access, Wifi is available at the McDonald’s four exits down the interstate.
Daily life at Yucko
A continental breakfast is served in the lobby between 8 and 10 each morning, with juice, pastries and cereal. A box lunch will be provided each day so that residents may eat in their rooms, undisturbed. A typical lunch box contains a can of Vienna sausages, a package of soda crackers, and a juice box. Dinner will be purchased from Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s or our local Asian restaurant, Chinee Takee Outee. Residents will vote each morning for that evening’s restaurant, and may make their dining selections from the take-out menus available in the breakfast room.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The old saying applies to Jills, too! Fortunately, Heavenly Haven offers countless diversions for the writer who needs a break from her labors. We have resurfaced the Sleep Eze-y swimming pool, which will be open until 9PM each evening. In addition, shopping at the Dollar General, bowling at Tamiami Alleys, and communing with nature at the municipal park along the Caloosahatchee River are all available within easy walking distance.
A short drive down the interstate brings the more venturesome residents to Lake Okeechobee, a tropical paradise which was the setting for the hurricane in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Fishing and boating are available, as are hiking and biking on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, more commonly known as the LOST trail.
Are you an as-yet unpublished writer? Do you struggle for time and energy to nurture your gift? Apply now to the Clarence T. Yucko Foundation. Your dream retreat awaits you this summer.
*Although the Foundation will not discriminate on the basis of gender, the admissions criterion regarding publication will undoubtedly favor women writers. Therefore we refer to our applicants and residents as “she.” click
I'M STILL VERY EXCITED SO I'M PUTTING IT ALL IN CAPS. TO READ MY FIRST PUBLISHED STORY, CLICK HERE:CLICK
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