Last week I mentioned that I was at the Künstlerdorf in Schöppingen, Germany, for a couple of months, to work. I’m here with twelve other artists and writers, and the idea is that you spend time in a place where the distractions of daily life – the phone ringing, the bills that need to be paid, the white noise of a city – are few, if not non-existent. The days (and nights) stretch out before you, free of obligation, schedule, or thoughts that limit your creativity. Which allows you to concentrate deeply, without interruption, but to also be surrounded by other people doing the same.
There is no television, no wireless. It’s in a small town with no less than three church services on Sundays and not much else, not even the distraction of vapour trails in the sky.
The closest city is an hour away by a milk run bus, and home is a suitably inconvenient 5 hour journey too complicated to retell. The library is filled with books (mostly German) and records. LPs! But let that not indicate the direction of creation (i.e. backward), for because of this lack of distraction and return to the simple, things DO get created. On a very large scale. Which is why this place exists.
The time to think.
Paraphrasing Michael Pollan a bit, this place is for the person who thinks a good place to spend the day is between two walls of books in front of a big window overlooking life, someone who’s willing to wager something worthwhile can come of being alone in the woods with one’s thoughts. Thank goodness for that.