The below interview was conducted via e-mail with Nancy Freund, poet, editor, reviewer, novelist, and L'ATELIER 2015 (and 2016!) attendee.
Why did you decide to go to L'ATELIER 2015?
The promise of time and creative space was an insistent call, and L'ATELIER delivered both of those, big time. But more than just time and space, it delivered inspiration and connection, every day -- several times a day.
A quick breakfast and check-in with fellow participants set me on a productive path for the morning, after which I was eager to share new work over lunch, and again before dinner and evening readings. The gentle pressure of the workshop environment and craft sessions led to more than one break-through on my work-in-progress.
It was unlike any retreat I've experienced before, and I will eagerly return. Also, the ongoing connection with wonderful new writer friends from L'ATELIER has easily been as valuable as the actual week in France.
On what kind of project were you working?
My main project is a literary novel that I've been writing for several years. The best thing is how easily I got past some troubling speed bumps with that work. Also, I learned loads of new things about structure, craft, screenwriting, technology, social media, and the French countryside.
What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
It's hard not to say it's the new friendships I made at L'ATELIER, which I consider invaluable, but I suppose the reason I went was to get my mojo back on my novel, and I did. Very rewarding indeed.
What was the most challenging part of the experience?
This sounds ridiculous but the biggest challenge has come since leaving France. I miss that carefully protected, sacred creative space. I aim to replicate it on some small level in my own home, so I can work similarly, but I remain aware that the support of an entire like-minded community all working on exciting projects is not easily faked in one's own home. So the biggest challenge has been blending the demands of real life with that ideal retreat world.
What are you most looking forward to about L'ATELIER 2016?
See above, first and foremost, and I'll add: the bunnies, lavender, and roses, long walks with a camera, conversation, views over the French countryside, and those incredible dinners. Bliss.