I can’t believe that I am already making 3 months in Stuttgart. It feels like just yesterday when I arrived at Akademie Schloss Solitude!
Two weeks ago, I had my mid-residence presentation. I was delighted to see my colleagues from Junges Ensemble Stuttgart (JES) where I teach playwriting in the audience. My fellow fellows also came in numbers. It was a wonderful moment to be able to share my work with a group of people that I have been with for the past 2–3 months. I had asked one of the fellows, Mireya Arauzo to read with me the text that I have been working on (pause) – Thank you, Mireya for agreeing to read the text with me, for beautifully singing songs in languages unknown to you, and for letting me »bulldoze« you as we rehearsed together! Being able to read with Mireya was a great opportunity to imagine what could be possible in a place like this. A place where people from different corners of the earth gather, wonderful things can happen.
One of the things that were a little disorienting for me when I had just arrived was how quiet this place was. For several years now, I have lived in places that are far from being quiet. When I got here, I didn’t know what to do with the silence. I didn’t know how to deal with the seemingly absence of people. In my third week, I had made peace with it but was still making constant trips to downtown Stuttgart for a change of scenery, and for some form of distracting sounds.
In my second month, I was beginning to understand the true meaning of solitude! The silence in this place has helped me conjure memories I thought were long forgotten, some that I had deliberately tucked away somewhere in my mind’s »locker«. As I sat in silence, these memories tagged at me, and begged to be released. With so much resistance, I finally released them. The experience of allowing this solitude to interrogate and probe me has been liberating. For some years now I have tried to put the text together that I shared, but I was not able to because the noise that always surrounded me could not let me. While here, I have been able to sit with these memories and to face them. It is as if this solitude has been therapeutic.
The silence here makes one stop and listen keenly, even to one’s own breathing pattern. The silence here propels one to not only get in touch with nature that surrounds us, but also with the quiet voices within us that are usually silenced by so much hustle and bustle that has come to characterize our world. The silence here makes one’s senses come alive in every way.
As I enter the second part of my residence, I am appreciative of the possibilities that this place offers. Not only does it (in its own way) make one stop in their tracks by its incredible beauty, but it also makes one stop in their creative process to listen to nature. Not only does it bring one in contact with incredibly smart people, but it gives fellows an opportunity to imagine future collaborations with one another. Returning to Solitude!