Expecting the Unexpected

trail, Millard Canyon, sign

The Angeles National Forest, partnered with the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, is hosting six artists in residence this summer: a graphic artist, a wood carver, a photographer, and three writers: a poet, a screenwriter, and me. Each of us gets time alone to work, and in return we share our work with people who visit the mountains.

I was originally supposed to do my residency right about the time of the Blue Cut Fire, so plans had to change. The forest will do what the forest will do.

Now that I’ve been rescheduled, I’m so excited to go that by Wednesday I had nervous tummy (in a good way). Time alone in a mountain lodge is thrilling and terrifying all at once. Like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you take that bottle down from the shelf—the one with the tag that says “drink me”—and you drink, not knowing what the results will be.

I’ll work on Grave Goods (working title), my new novel, about an archivist who finds a photo that changes who she thinks she is and puts her life in danger. I’ve got a couple of other writing projects to work on, and I look forward to the time to think about them. I could get a lot done in a week. That or go crazy.

I’ll also teach two writing workshops called From Brain to Page. Come on up! It’ll be fun. UPDATE 9/7/16: THE WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELED.

Internet access will be spotty but I’ll approve and respond to comments as often as I can. I hope you’ll weigh in. Have you ever been on an artist’s retreat? Do you have a favorite spot?

What I expect for the coming days is to hike, take photos, read, do yoga, visit Wrightwood, hike some more, and write, write, write. What I don’t expect, I’ll tell you about when I get back.

#Angeles National Forest#Artist in Residence#Millard Canyon#San Gabriel Mountains National Monument#sign#trail#US Forest Service


  1. William Kendall - September 2, 2016 @ 11:42

    Have fun!

    • Petrea - September 2, 2016 @ 11:45

      Thanks! I think I will.

  2. Irina - September 2, 2016 @ 11:52

    It sounds so amazingly wonderful, I wish you all the plans come true.
    But if creative bug decides to relax too, please do not worry and enjoy the new circumstances full way without any guilt.
    Because from my experience the anticipation is often stronger that the event itself.
    Have a great time!

    • Petrea - September 2, 2016 @ 13:24

      You are correct, Irina, the anticipation is high. I want to have a relaxing time so I hope to let go of it and relax into my quiet time.

  3. Barbara Cooper - September 2, 2016 @ 12:43

    Well, my tummy is excited too! I had a friend who was a Trappist hermit with a cabin in the mountains here. When he went away I got to use the cabin. Had a lot of mice! But nah! You won’t have four legged company like that – tho they are cute and might have a place in your story! ;-D

    • Petrea - September 2, 2016 @ 13:25

      I’ll be on the second floor, but I don’t think that will slow down a mouse who wants to visit!

  4. Penny Johnson - September 3, 2016 @ 20:00

    This is going to be so good for you and your creative juices…enjoy.

  5. Jane Rollins - September 4, 2016 @ 11:51

    What a marvelous opportunity for you! Enjoy to the max…

  6. Shelley - September 16, 2016 @ 02:03

    Commenting on posts so long after the event feels like being a time traveller, armed with news from the future – and verily as such and all that, I will simply say that it sounds like it would have been very wonderful. Not for me, I suspect … I haven’t been on an artist’s retreat and suspect I’d go bonkers {though I hear all the best people are}. Maybe one day …

    • Petrea - September 16, 2016 @ 15:15

      I love the time traveling image! You’re absolutely right. I wish I could have stayed long enough to find out if I’d go bonkers or not.

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