When I applied for the writing residency at Kitchen-at-Camont, I of course wanted it in a major, major way, but at the same time was worried about the cost. We have a trip to Czech and Slovakia coming up at Thanksgiving that we’ve saved for months for. My freelance writing funds our travels, but it doesn’t replenish quickly enough to let me buy another international airfare so soon after paying for two. So my delirious excitement at landing the residency was tempered with a nagging kill-joy that insisted on running budgets to tally airfare, room and board, trains, two extra days in Paris and miscellany costs. Eep!
My friend, artist Bryce Hudson, convinced me I needed a fundraiser for the residency, like he’d had for his artist residency in Beijing. I felt a little squiggly about asking people for money but Bryce and some friends talked me into a crepe party at Bryce’s studio. We set it into motion, put out word on Facebook, Twitter and by email, and on a perfect, crisp blue November Sunday, about 50 people showed up to enjoy crepes, wish me well and drop money (the kind that folds!) into vases for me.
It was a fabulous combination of family, friends old and new, colleagues from work, and friends of Bryce’s. Brian and I stationed ourselves at the kitchen counter and took crepe requests — we made Serrano + Manchego with Black Pepper Jelly, Brie + Pumpkin or Apple Butter, Red Fig Jam + Goat Cheese, and Pear + Gorgonzola. For about 3 consecutive hours we enjoyed turning out crepe after crepe to the crowd — luckily a patient group, as we had a queue of about 15 or 20 at one point. Thanks maybe in part to the Dumante mimosas with drinks contributed by Dumante Verdenoce Liqueur it was a lively crowd too, milling around examining the art on display, listening to the French music on my playlist, talking, laughing, and eating crepes. It was perfect. My only regret is that I had so little opportunity for conversation with anyone aside from “what kind of crepe would you like?”
At the end of the party, exhausted in a good way, and cheered on by Bryce and my family, we counted the overwhelming pile of money left by the guests. After the party expenses, there is more than two-thirds of what I’ll need for airfare, generosity that even brought tears to my mom’s eyes. As for me, I was humbled and overwhelmed. And at the risk of sounding maudlin, I counted my blessings as even greater than the money I counted.
My deepest thanks to everyone who came out and shared in the day and helped make it possible for me to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime in France. Thanks to Beth Newberry for making the video. Special thanks to Dumante for the drinks, and very special thanks to Bryce for convincing me to do this, hosting it at his studio and making sure that it was fabulous. And most of all, thanks to my husband. Brian not only supports me gallivanting off to France while he works, minds the dogs and takes care of the house, he gave up his Sunday to work by my side, flipping crepes to help make my trip happen.