The Travels of Sandra Jackson-Opoku
Spoiler alert: If you get twinges of jealousy over globetrotting world travelers, stop reading now.
In military terms, retreat is not something you should do unless absolutely necessary, but in writing retreat is a positive word. To go on a retreat is to carve out time and find a place to shift your focus totally toward working on your work. Retreating in creative terms, like in military terms, can be something to save your creative life and your work.
Sandra has done the research to find places that offer artists nurturing environments for their work. She has applied and been accepted by a diverse set of retreats that will have her moving across mental and physical landscapes simultaneously.
Starting with an easy trip of about one hundred miles, her first stop is a two week retreat in the bucolic surrounds of Benton Harbor, Michigan at Blueberry View Artist Retreat. Here her hosts, sculptors and former Chicagoans Janet Sullivan and Mark Toncray, provide an environment of peace and tranquility for artists of any genre. Overlooking Lake Michigan, their garden and of course blueberry fields, Sandra hopes to revise her cozy mystery, Sweet Potato Crimes.
After a brief return to Chicago, she will be traveling to the exotic east to attend the retreat at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China. Situated in The Bund area of Old Shanghai, the international section that was developed over a century ago, this stretch of four to six story buildings sitting on the west bank of the Huangpu River is picturesque. In a city of 23 million people, she will have the opportunity to mix with artists of many countries and disciplines when she is not conducting Open Studio Sessions or working on her young adult novel North Shore/ South Shore.
Lastly, she will travel across the sea to the African motherland of Senegal. Located on the eastern coast of the continent, she will participate in the WOW Senegal Residency in Saint-Louis, Senegal. Her novel God’s Gift to the Natives, a crime story set in Senegal will be richly enhanced by her total immersion in the county, the culture and the language. When she isn’t writing, she will be automatically researching and absorbing. She intends to visit Goree Island, the small rock outcropping located off the coast of Senegal, which has the last standing ‘Slave House’, which was built by the Dutch in 1777. Now a museum, this was a holding pen and point of demarcation for hundreds of thousands of slaves for nearly a century. It is complete with small door called the "door of no return" through which every man, woman and child was walked to the waiting slave boat. It was the place where they caught a last glimpse of their homeland.
We, the members of FLOW, wish our sister safe and productive travels.