Residencies are weird. You have time, time, time, and the pressure to write. It’s awesome. You have people to talk to, time to dig in, and a lot of shit to do.
There have been residencies where my co-residents irritate me a little bit. I ignore them the best I can. Maybe tell a couple snarky stories later. I try to hang out with the ones who do not annoy me. But here full-fledged fights have developed.
This may surprise you, but I’m conflict-averse. I’m all about arguing for fun and being melodramatic in my stories, but real tension? I fucking head for the hills. There has been drinking, and lord knows I love to drink, but it makes some of the people here fighty.
(An aside: You would all recognize me when I drink because I become more like my Indy Clause self.) But, other people, other people it makes mean. And defensive. And I no longer go to communal dinners because I have no patience for a fight. Not a real fight.
I have writing to do. I like hanging out with the other writers here, but that is just a bonus. When they get personality conflicts I get lost. I go back to my room to read, to write, to watch West Wing. I have varying sympathies for everyone involved in the fighting, but they are not my kin. I am not here to support them as human beings.
I am here to write, and that is hard enough as it is.
Conflict: do you stand up or do you back down?