Soapstone provides women writers with a stretch of uninterrupted time for their work and the opportunity to live in semi-solitude close to the natural world.
In addition to that rare but essential commodity for a writer-a quiet space away from jobs, children, and other responsibilities-Soapstone provides something less tangible but also invaluable: the validation and encouragement necessary to embark upon or sustain a long or difficult writing project.
Located in Oregon's Coast Range, nine miles from the ocean, the retreat stands on twenty-two acres of densely forested land along the banks of Soapstone Creek and is home to much wildlife. The writers in residence enjoy a unique opportunity to learn about the natural world and join us in conscious stewardship of the land.
Soapstone is set up for two writers at a time, each with her own writing studio. From an applicant pool of 400 to 500, approximately thirty-five writers each year are awarded residencies of one to four weeks.
Each of the two writers in residence has her own writing studio. Both have large expanses of window that look out on the forest and creek, and skylights through which the writers can see the moon and stars at night.
The Water Studio is on the ground floor; it offers limited accessibility to women with disabilities (contact the director for details). It has a double bed, a desk and adjustable desk chair, and a small closet. It has both electric heat and a very efficient wood stove. The twenty-foot vaulted ceiling has a skylight over the bed and two walls of windows looking out over Soapstone Creek and the forest. This studio is separated from the main structure by a covered breezeway. The writer in Water has the use of the stone terrace during the day.
The Wind Studio is in the main building and includes a sleeping loft with a double bed facing a large skylight and its own private upper deck. A staircase provides access to the sleeping loft. Wind's writing studio (referred to as "the cube") is perched forty-feet above the main floor and has a desk, adjustable desk chair, and large round windows on all four sides looking down on the creek, forest, and meadow. A short built-in wooden ladder from the loft is the only access to the writing studio. Wind is heated by a wood stove on the ground level.
The retreat is simply and comfortably furnished.
The writers share afully equipped modern kitchen (electric stove, microwave, toaster oven, coffeemaker, blender, etc.), bathroom with shower, living room, outdoor Jacuzzi in the breezeway, and washer and dryer.
The studios each have their own phone but share a phone line. The living room has a small library of books about birds, mammals, fish and other aspects of the natural world, as well as literary journals and a selection of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
Applications for the next cycle will be accepted during the summer of 2010 and must be postmarked no earlier than July 1 and no later than August 1.
A committee made up of different writers each year reads the applications and selects residents. All applicants are notified by mid-September. In the event of a cancellation, the space is offered to applicants who were not initially awarded residencies.
Women may apply in pairs or singly; those applying in pairs should each send a separate application. Each application will be considered on its own merits. If only one of the applicants in a pair is offered a residency, she will be paired up with another writer.
Please be sure to read Is Soapstone for You? before applying for a residency.