Mostly I am developing a poetry project based on island life that will unfold like a treasure map with a scavenger hunt. My plan is to create a series of weatherproof flags that serve as clues so island visitors can search for a buried treasure.
I am also rewriting a high-seas adventure novel my grandfather wrote in 1957 entitled »Hells Island.« My poem/treasure map project stems out the intersection of rewriting a treasure hunting novel and living on an actual island. Old observation towers, battlements, and army buildings are scattered around the island, giving the place a distinctive adventurous feel.
Since arriving on Fishers Island, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between the real world and the virtual world of the internet, cell phones, video games, and connected media.
Fishers Island is isolated, cell phone service is shoddy at best, and I don’t have an internet connection in my studio. So, I’ve enjoyed adapting to having less online resources and thinking about what that means for me as an artist and what total digital immersion means to us as individuals and as a culture.
The environment deeply influences the writing. The other night I was in the studio. The sky was moonless, and the ferry landing was totally empty. I went out to the jetty that faces the mainland and sat watching the sky for an hour. I never saw the lights of a car nor were there any people around. I had to remind myself that there are no such things as ghosts.
All the fellows on residency live in a large Victorian-style boarding house that overlooks a cove. We eat dinner together every night, and when we come together it takes everyone about ten minutes to warm up to conversation. We spend most days by ourselves, and to come together as a community takes readjustment.
The last few days have been rainy, which isn’t too bad, but the wind comes with the rain, and the wind is an incredible force that governs all movement about the island. It’s hard to walk or ride a bike. The seas froth into white caps. The trees cry as their leaves are torn from the branches.
My work schedule has been to get up at 6 am, make breakfast and lunch, then leave the house for the studio. I write all morning in the studio, then head back to the house to check email or look up information I need online. Then I go back to the studio for lunch.