Day to day life: the to-do lists, the car repairs, the shopping, the small appointments, the large appointments, the constant interruption. And, for an artist, the daily struggle to find time to step into that magic circle where everything is heightened – more vivid, more complex, more suffused with emotion and meaning and intellectual challenge.
Artists require a special set of conditions in order to summon the peculiar mix of focus and relaxation, knowledge and intuition, seriousness and wit necessary to produce something worthwhile. The work artists do is calculus, not algebra; in that circle, while one is working, everything is a variable, everything is possible, everything affects everything else.
Out of that space come the novels, poems, painting, musical composition, and films that enrich our lives.
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts offers the rarest and most valuable of experiences – a chance to stay inside that circle for the length of a residency, to be able to live and breathe the work, all day and every day. And, when a break is needed, it offers the assurance that one can step out of the workshop and clear one’s head by walking in beautiful natural surroundings without being interrupted. How precious that time is, and how irreplaceable.
VCCA has been a major part of my creative process for five books and fourteen years.
None of those books would have found the form they found without the time and space I found at VCCA. There, my creative life has been enriched by conversation not just with other writers but with composers, visual artists, and filmmakers, and I have formed personal and creative friendships that have endured. Every artist who has been privileged to spend time at VCCA can say the same thing.
It takes money to keep this unusual ecosystem functioning so that this work can go on.
Funding is a constant challenge, especially in these economic and political times. If you are a VCCA artist, I don’t have to tell you how much VCCA has helped you. If you are not an artist but your life has been enriched by the creativity generated there, VCCA has helped you, too.
Please join me in giving to VCCA as generously as possible, so that this special place can continue to offer its precious, and necessary, magic.
TOM PIAZZA is the author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novel City Of Refuge, which won the Willie Morris Award, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and the essay collection Devil Sent The Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America. He is currently a writer for the HBO drama series TREME, and is at work on a new novel. A well known writer on American music as well, he won a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey, and he is a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing. He lives in New Orleans.
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