Residency in Spain inspires Wilson’s writings

Residency in Spain inspires Wilson's writings by Kristine Chung Norma Wilson, a professor of English at The University of South Dakota, discovered Spain to be the perfect setting for a collection of inspirational poems.

Wilson had the opportunity last July to spend a one month residency in Mojacar, Spain. The Valparaiso Foundation awarded Wilson, one other poet, and four other artists from all over the world a rare chance to live the ideal life of all writers and artists.

The foundation offered these individuals an environment free of any stress and distraction. All residents were given free room, board, and laundry services as a reward for their past achievements.

The setting was also designed to inspire the creativity of Wilson and the other artists.

A former olive mill was transformed into an international retreat for various writers and artists.

The building boasted eight separate units, a communal dining room, and a library.

The large adobe-style complex was set on the edge of terraced almond, orange, and olive groves. Its esthetics included views of the sea, wide plains and the Sierra Cabrera mountains.

Wilson spent many afternoons walking to a nearby village or hiking on the beach or a mountain side.

"Everything is so full of history here. Climbing up a mountain, pieces of pottery can be found representing all of the past and present cultures," she said.

While in Spain, Wilson concentrated primarily on writing about what she saw and experienced.

Many of her poems are influenced by the culture and scenery she encountered on a daily basis.

Her poem titled Norma in Wonderland is a depiction of a man she witnessed picking almonds in a field and a large liebre, which resembles a large rabbit, scurrying down the bank side.

Sea Alhambra describes the lacy white rocks and deep aqua pools of the sea. It then goes on to describe the fishermen who cast their nets out toward Morocco and how their descendants who once lived

in the coves moved north

to Granada.

Wilson believed that her strongest inspiration was the sea which seemed to stretch endlessly from Mojacar. "One is constantly aware of the power of the sea," she said. "It is more than a source of recreation but a way of life for the people of Mojacar."

She met Americans, Europeans and British people who were sharing experiences similar to hers.

Experiencing this mix of cultures every day was an experience that was absolutely irreplaceable to Wilson.

Wilson returned home from Spain with more than 70 pages of writings. She hopes to publish them in a book of poems.

"I can truly say that I wrote more than I ever had at the time. My writing was transformed by these visions that I observed and got a chance to experience first hand," she said.

Her stay in Spain may have only lasted a month, but Wilson believes many benefits from her experiences are in store.

"My reward will be when someone comes up to me and tells me that they enjoyed my book of poems � that is all I need," she said.

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