I'm very much an urban animal. I write in coffee shops, on the basis that a low hum of human activity is more relaxing than silence because for most of human history soft noise meant nothing was wrong or someone would be screaming whereas perfect silence meant a sabretooth tiger was sneaking up behind you. I learn lines while I'm cycling, I steal funny soundbites I've overheard on buses and pretend I made them up, the city is where I feel comfortable writing and it's what I write about.
In that sense Annaghmakerrig is a slightly odd fit for me, but anything I lost in terms by being out of my comfort zone I more than made back in time and conversations.
Being given a period away from the being-at-work-staying-the-same rhythm of production meetings, productions, emails, and applications, is invaluable.
I've always been skeptical of the idea that there are some thoughts you need seclusion to think, but there are definitely thoughts you won't think unless you take the time to think them. It's nice to stop treading water and dive.
The other brilliant thing about Annaghmakerrig is access to people who are doing exactly what you're doing. The discipline doesn't matter, everyone's trying to do something that will do something to an audience. The chance to speak to other artists about their work – the preoccupations, the nuts and bolts – with a scope and breadth that you rarely reach in casual conversation is a gift. In my experience you mostly don't know what a work needs until you find it, but sometimes someone else has already found it.