University of Texas Dallas alumna LaToya Watkins recently completed a fellowship in the MacDowell Colony, in rural Peterborough, New Hampshire, joining the ranks of authors like Alice Walker and Thornton Wilder who have been inspired by the colony’s isolated serenity.
“This experience is quite different for
me,” Watkins said. “I have found it to be a positive experience, and I kind of
get sad when I think about coming out from this place, re-entering into the
world and how I’m going to handle that and still take some of these lessons
Set on a farm in Peterborough, the colony
allows artists to concentrate on their work, giving them private studios where
they spend most of their days in isolation, apart from meals in communal spaces.
“It took me some days to get used to it,” she said. “Writing is all there is to do. There’s no internet or phone connection on most of the property. For most of the day, you are completely disconnected from the world…I found the isolation liberating. I was able to produce writing that wasn’t influenced by my roles here. I could go off of life experiences that weren’t always connected to me as a mother, teacher, wife or daughter.”