I am writing this from the comfort of my beautiful studio at the Djerassi Resident Artist program. I earned a writing residency here and am here from April 5th to May 3rd, 2017. Tonight it was the night for two artists to cook dinner for the other 10 artists and two program assistants. I was one of the cooks, helping to manifest a Pakistani woman's vision of a meal. We laughed, we made a mess, we put love into the food, and the food was a big hit. She is a brilliant painter and we were able to get to know one another more through this experience of cooking for such a big group.
On most nights, we have a brilliant chef feeding us. There is so much thought and love put into all the details of creating a supportive environment for the artists here to be productive with their work. Even the land supports the artists, as we are high up in the mountains, with deer that peek through windows and fire stoves that keep us warm. Being from Alaska, I am one who is now known for being quick at starting a fire for the others.
I can feel myself become more of myself as I unwind more and more in the smart and studied comfort and diligence of this place known as Djerassi. A softening of self, an awakening within to the work of my heart.
As I write this, a group of five artists are working together intently to make beignets. We have been wanting to eat desserts, so we are taking the initiative to make a complex one.
I am away from all the distractions of my world. I am here with my work. Work that is overdue, work that has been ignored, work that is calling out to me, work that emerges from the veins within my heart.
24 more days of this incredible experience to go. I feel very blessed. And ready to write.
Allison Akootchook Warden
An Iñupiaq interdisciplinary artist who also raps under the name AKU-MATU.