From Jonathan Harper, resident writer March 2012:
A big thanks to the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow. Since my stay back in March, my fiction has found a home in the magazine Chelsea Station issue 2, the anthology "A Touch of the Sea" and the online magazine Obsession Lit Mag. You are all incredible and I hope to be back in 2013!
From Joe Cangelosi, Professor and market researcher, Conway, Arkansas:
From May 8th to 31st 2012 I had my annual “writing season” at the WCDH. 2012 marked the 8th consecutive year I have spent from 14 to 24 days at the Colony. Since at the present time I am a college department head, the main reason for coming to the Colony is to catch up on academic writing. However, my time at WCDH is much more.
Truly Eureka Springs is an enchanting place. I’ve been coming here either alone or with my wife and/or family since 1978, for anniversaries, Mother’s Days, academic writing, retreats, and to just get away. I guess the academic writing part of being in Eureka Springs could be classified as intellectual, since my work, if published, will be operationally defined as an intellectual contribution. Again, however, I come to Eureka for much more than just writing.
I believe in a well-rounded balanced experience when I go somewhere, whether for long or short periods of time. This means growing not only intellectually, but also spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I think the environments at the WCDH, the town of Eureka Springs, and the surrounding Ozark hill country provides me with an opportunity to cover all four growth areas.
To elaborate a little more on the intellectual component, in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas, I am required to publish at least 3 refereed journal articles in 5 years. If I don’t, then my continued employment becomes an issue, and I hurt my college’s accreditation standing. Besides, I would never want to be a liability to anybody or organization. Administrative work takes away greatly from the time I have to be creative and write, so my time at WCDH is critically important.
Emotional growth comes from just being in Eureka Springs; going downtown and meeting and talking to the people, eating the food, and listening to the music. I’ve met some remarkable people since coming to WCDH, including winery owners, many other entrepreneurs, John Two-Hawks, John Michael Talbot, Crescent Dragonwagon, and many other outstanding business owners, writers, musicians and performers. I just feel better about myself when I’m in Eureka Springs.
Physical growth is probably the easiest of the growth areas to enhance while at WCDH. All you have to do is walk outside for a few hundred yards and you will invariably be walking up or down a steep hill. This is a hilly little town and I always lose 5-10 pounds when here for writing, while eating about the same as I do when I’m in Conway being a professor and administrator. And after the soreness wears off, I really start feeling good. The next phase is all kinds of plans to carry the momentum over to regular life after my time at the Colony. Some years I’m more successful than others, just to be honest.
Some people would disagree with me in varying degrees, but I’ve always believed that I am as much a spiritual being as a physical being. My spiritual, not religious, background is Christian, and the single most important relationship in my life is the one with my Creator and Savior. Eureka, though a small town, provides incredible opportunities for spiritual growth, including seminars and retreats led by some truly outstanding spiritual people, and just the opportunity to walk these beautiful streets in the historic district and commune with my Lord and Savior is spiritual enough. In addition, sometimes it is just nice to spend time meditating at St. Elizabeth’s Church, The Christ Statue on the Passion Play grounds, or Thorncrown Chapel. Hence, spiritual growth is a daily and important part of my overall experience while at the WCDH.
Since 2005, I’ve stayed in each of the writing suites in the Dairy Hollow House. But in 2012 there From Joe Cangelosiwas something really special about my stay at the WCDH. I was the first writer to stay in the newly renovated 505 Spring Street addition to the Colony. That was a real privilege. It was a great experience and I was unusually productive.
In summary, for me staying at the WCDH is an important part of my life. I intend to continue coming each year as long as I am able. There are several people in important positions of leadership that I have met and want to personally thank for making the WCDH a truly special place, including the founder, Crescent Dragonwagon, Director, Linda Caldwell, several of the Board members including Sandy Martin and Ann Hood, and the past directors of WCDH, including Jane Tucker, Vicki Kell. Oh yes, I don’t want to forget the excellent hospitality provided by Cindy, Yana and Georgia; the food is great! I believe the WCDH is in good hands and the leadership is dynamic yet stable, making for a bright future.
I’ll be back in 2013, God willing. Thanks WCDH!
2011 alum Lonnie Whitaker's book, Geese to a Poor Market, much of it written in the Tulip Room at the old farmhouse at the Colony, won the Ozark Writers' League Best Book of the Year Award. It was recently favorably reviewed in the St. Louis Post-dispatch by Harry Levins.
"Now, the lyrics to "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show may stop playing in my head," Whitaker writes. Last November, his book won the Ozark Writers' League Best Book of the Year Award.
His contribution to "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Boost Your Brain Power," is about learning to play the banjo as a memory booster, and it's due out on May 22, 2012.
Lonnie Whitaker, High Ridge, Mo.
From Michael Ray Taylor of Henderson State University in , Arkadelphia, Ark.: "In 2009, I received a Moondancer Fellowship and stayed in the Culinary Suite while working on a lengthy article about the lava tubes of Hawaii and also on chapters of a novel (when not experimenting in the fabulous kitchen). When I got stuck on either of the big projects, I started writing something silly, just for fun: a humorous book about cats, suggested by one of my children. The Canadian novelist Liza Potvin was staying at Dairy Hollow at the same time, and she and I agreed to swap new chapters for a critique every evening at dinner. She found the cat chapters funny and encouraged me to stay with them. Although I wound up putting the cat manuscript aside at the end of my residency, I finally picked up again this past Christmas, and I fell for it all over again.
"The Cat Manual is now out as an e-book, with dozens of 5-star reviews from readers at Amazon and Goodreads. A major publisher is considering bringing out an illustrated version next year. It wouldn’t exist were it not for Dairy Hollow. I hope to come back again soon."
Check out his book at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZTBJDM
From Susan A. Burden Clarksville, Ark. (2011 resident): "Last year I had the best writing experience of my life – I spent a week at The Writers’ Colony in Dairy Hollow. As a teacher and academic, I have spent a great deal of my life researching topics and turning out papers or presentations from that research. The problem has always been the focus and concentration needed to organize, polish and evaluate the paper after the rough draft. The research can be done when time is available; the rough draft can be put together from the outline that emerges from that research, but making the final draft both grammatical and interesting takes intense scrutiny of all aspects of the writing.
"I was able to do in a week at the Writers’ Colony what would have normally taken me months to do if I had been at home. At home, the interruptions and household duties interrupt my focus. At the Writers’ Colony I was in absolutely beautiful and comfortable surroundings. I was able to get up in the morning and go directly to work if I wanted. If I awoke in the middle of the night, I could get up and work on it ‑ at home one cannot disturb the household in that way. I could eat a light breakfast and lunch when I wanted; no one else’s schedule had to be kept.
It became my habit in that week to get up at 5:30 to 6:00, let my mind come to life for an hour. I then worked steady with coffee breaks and a half-hour at lunch. At dinner time, it was a pleasure to go to the dining room and eat with the other patrons. I so enjoyed them and our conversations. On Thursday night of the week, members of the literary community in Eureka Springs came in and ate with us. After the meal, we each read a short excerpt from what we were writing. It was a wonderful evening. I heard some exceptional writing read and the conversation was as stimulating as any I have ever encountered.
I simply cannot say enough good about the Writers’ Colony. It is amazing."
From Better C. Henderson (3 year alumni): "My memories of the weeks spent working on two of my published books and another yet-to-be completed one, seeing the familiar desk, the comfortable chairs, the convenient kitchen, the wonderful vistas, trees, flowers and the hill country environment...how it makes me itch to return for another three or four week session. Keep your fingers crossed that the opportunity will come again for this frustrated writer...thank you so much, Crescent, for beginning something that has turned into what is an excellent and lasting legacy of your and your husband. I will continue to recommend this retreat as the perfect answer to the need for solitude."
From Brenda K. Lewis, 2011 resident: "What I love most about the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow is the creative spirit that dwells here. The spirit is one of individualistic expression, craft, creativity, art - which is what makes the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow unique. Being here is both invigorating and laid-back, an experience the Colony fosters by providing time and space and sustenance to do the work I am called to do. Even though I am a writer, it's difficult to find the words to describe what this lace means to me, the effect it has on me."
From Dr. Elaine Orr, North Carolina, 2011 resident: "I enjoyed a hugely creative and productive time at the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, revising an entire 435 page novel in a little over a month.
"The current Colony grounds and building are a quaint spot with an interesting history. I was curious to know all about the original farm house, the first bed & breakfast, the Colony itself, and how it is expanding its current location. The Colony House has good vibrations in its bones. I felt creative energy in the space itself, the views, the rooms, the flowers abounding. The food was fantastic.
"I was here for PoetLuck and thought it was a great success. People were very receptive to my reading and I was impressed by the local talent."
From Sarah Gray-Panesi, Tennessee, 2011 resident: "There is something magical and magnetic about this place . . .it seems to draw pen to paper even, and especially, when the writer least expects it."
From Dr. Jan K. Nielsen, minister, West Hartford, Connecticut, 2011 resident: "My week at the Writers' Colony allowed me the solitude I needed for reflection and writing. I am most grateful to the Writers' Colony for providing me a place where I could listen to my soul and then write what I heard."
From Rich Orloff, playwright, New York, 2011 resident: "Having been to a dozen artists' colonies, my time at WCDH is easily one of my favorites. The environment is peaceful and conducive to creativity, Best of all - I had uninterrupted time to write...and write...and write..and write. And I did."
Lonnie Whitaker, attorney/writer, Missouri, 2011 resident: "Time spent at WCDH restores me. Where else can you catch that creative wave when it comes and write as long as you want. So inspiring, I dedicated my recent book and used my suite as a setting."
Joy Pope Aladete, writer/researcher, Georgia, 2011: "I give WCDH a 10 out of 10! I got lots of work done!"
Sean Fitzgibbon: "I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Writers colony. The staff, accommodations and dinners were absolutely wonderful. Not only did I get a lot of work done on my book, I found my stay at WCDH to be both relaxing and invigorating."
Denise Frame Harlan, author/researcher, Washington, 2011: "I deeply appreciate this lovely home-away-from-home. I can't thank you enough for the gracious gift of time and support to nurture my writing. This is my first experience at a Writers Colony, and luxury of quiet is remarkable. I'll be back!."
Chere Coen, writer, Louisiana, 2011: "Thank you for a memorable week that was highly productive. Everything came together for meat last ad I cannot thank you enough! I have left a copy of my book for your library. Can you tell I want to come back?"
Dr. Stephanie Vandeslice, creative writing teacher/author/speaker, Arkansas, 2011: "My week at the Writers' Colony has been pure magic. The peace, the quiet, the time to devote to my work. Pure magic."
Cherie Jones, author/composer, Barbados-West Indies, 2011: "My stay at the Writers Colony was more than I'd hoped for. I'd definitely recommend it to others.'
Nikki Kallio, author(fiction)/painter/photographer, Wisconsin, 2011: "The full impact of a stay at the Writers Colony is hard to measure in immediate terms - for writers, everything is an influence. My stay at Dairy Hollow will appear in different forms throughout my career as a writer."
Dr. Elaine Orr, author/memoir/professor, North Carolina, 2011: "Bright and sweet working space - which contributed significantly to the high volume and quality of work I accomplished here...revising an entire 435 page novel in a little over a month. The gifts the Colony has to offer are many, some tangible and some less tangible, but nonetheless extremely significant. A chief asset is the people. I felt a creative energy in the space itself, the views, the rooms, the flowers abounding. I came to see myself as a true resident here and was entertained by "tourists". I made use of just about every available space, the deck, the porch, suite, dining hall, main kitchen and grounds. Annexing this space with '505' is going to be a huge opportuniy for expanding the flow of beauty and energy in this charming and unique spot."