"The Residency" by David Yezzi + Scrambled Eggs with Red Pepper Puree

We creative types need to stick together, don't we? There's nothing better that knowing you are part of a community of like-minded people who get inspired and excited by the same things that drive you. When I started blogging in 2008, I was unaware of the community I was entering, and that I would actually make genuine friendships from it. I thought about all this because of two things: a poem and a magazine article. Though unrelated, the poem happened to be placed in the middle of an article about loneliness in the age of social media. The poem is about a writer's residency, and the experience of communing with other artists in a somewhat isolated environment, in this case, in the woods, in a cabin with a writing table.

The aforementioned article, "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" made some interesting points about loneliness, like how it is a "by-product of a long-standing national appetite for independence," referencing the Pilgrims who fled Europe and "willingly abandoned the bonds and structures of society that could not accept their right to be different. They did not seek out loneliness, but they accepted it as the price of their autonomy."

But it does get one thing wrong, I think. The article makes the case for real-life relationships and networking, but claims that "social media doesn't create new social networks; it just transfers established networks from one platform to another." Thankfully, I've found the opposite to be true in the food world. Granted, as many of you are far away and reside in other cities, our relationship progresses slower than others, but that's ok with me. We tweet and email and meet up when we can, and I'm just so grateful to be part of it all. That's what I was thinking about while sitting in Dulles airport earlier this month, waiting for my flight home.

The Residency

By David Yezzi

I love my cabin and my writing table,
my bright lunch pail, the mudded path. Then drinks
begin, say, five-ish—Stoli or Red Label—
and keep on till we’ve worked out all the kinks

in our disheveled psyches. Back at home,
it’s hard how people don’t know I’m an artist.
I feel as useless as a garden gnome.
They think I’m ordinary: that’s the hardest!

Here, they understand the mess that’s me,
and everything about this place confirms
what I’ve known deep down since the age of three:
I operate on slightly different terms

than businessmen and lawyers and the crowd
that trades and dickers, hires and fires, and when
I tell the world my tale I tell it loud!
I must get down to breakfast before ten.

The cook, with every egg he scrambles, knows
that he is giving me fresh fuel to fashion
new Himalayas, draped in dazzling snows,
of imagination backed by skies of passion.

first appeared in The Atlantic (May 2012)

We don't live in residencies day to day. They are short-term opportunities to hone in on our craft for a brief period of time, removing us from the routines that impede our work, allowing our mind to focus on just the one thing before us: writing (or painting, or music, or whatever it is that you do). I appreciate the subtle rhymes, and musings on the process of creativity, though writing a poem about writing a poem could be construed as a form of procrastination, no? Either way, if I were at a residency in the woods, this is the kind of breakfast I'd like to start my morning with. Hopefully it will fuel some creativity for you, too.


I took the low and slow approach to cooking these eggs, much like these creamy scrambled eggs. Just before serving, the puree is stirred in, adding a vibrant flavor. You'll have plenty of leftover red pepper puree, so use the rest as a sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise or a dip for pita chips.

3 small red bell peppers
6 eggs, lightly whisked
Goat cheese, for serving
Chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the peppers whole into a square baking dish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the skins have charred a bit; turn halfway through for even cooking.

Let cool slightly, then pull off the stems; they should pull away easily. Add the peppers and their juice to a blender or food processor and process until well combined; season with salt.

Add the eggs to a 2-quart saucepan over very low heat. Stir periodically for about 15 minutes, or until the eggs are creamy and just set. A few minutes before the eggs are finished, stir in several tablespoons of the reserved pepper puree (adjust for your taste). Serve over grilled bread garnished with chives and goat cheese.