Choteau bound

Dear Patronopolis, Wild Things Music students, friends, collaborators and community,

I have some news to share.

This June, I am moving to Choteau, Montana. I’ll be suspending Wild Things Music, continuing the Patronopolis with some modifications, and focusing on art-making. I’m really excited about this move and about what it means for me creatively and personally. If you’re interested in hearing more, I’ve tried to anticipate some questions folks might have:
Why move to Choteau?
There’s no point in being indirect here, I suppose. I’m in love with a man who has a home in Choteau, and we’re going to move there together, fix up his place, and have an adventure on the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front. His name is Bryn Cunningham. He’s an amazing person. I feel really happy and lucky to be writing this new chapter with him. That’s the personal side of this decision.
But this choice has professional motivations too. Moving to Choteau offers me a chance to prioritize art-making. I’ll be shedding many roles and responsibilities, which will allow me to more fully embrace my role as an artist. I see myself writing stories, songs, plays, musicals…pouring myself into making. It’s extremely exciting to me, and something I’ve been longing to do for decades. For all the ways I’ll miss Missoula, especially my friends, students and other relationships, I feel this move is exactly what I need creatively, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

How long are you going to be there?
I don’t know.

Are you ever going to come back?
To visit? Yes, frequently (it’s only three hours away). To live? Probably. Missoula feels like my home, and I can’t imagine that I’ll never return. But the nature of an adventure is being open to wherever it leads…so I can’t say for sure.

What will happen to Wild Things Music?
The Spring Rumpus on May 17 will be the last time the Fledglings, Coyote Choir, Wolf Pack, and F.R.O.G.S. will gather and perform for the foreseeable future. It’s possible that this move will turn out to be a sabbatical, and I’ll come back and restart these programs. But it’s also possible that they are coming to an end.


Are you ever going to teach anything again?
I’m sure I will. I love teaching. More precisely, I’ve loved teaching (and learning with) YOU, and I’m so grateful for the ways you’ve helped me grow through your participation in Wild Things Music. I am open to lots of possibilities for teaching in the future — running “workshop versions" of the Wild Things programs here in Missoula or in other places, adapting my programs to fit into retreats or conferences (writer’s retreats? creativity conferences?), or as I said above, restarting the WTM programs in roughly the same form at a later date. But for the time being, I am ready to put teaching on the back burner, and free up my energy and head space for my own projects.
What will happen to the Patronopolis?
The Patronopolis lives! I’ll continue to share my creative journey with anyone who is interested via videos, e-mails and other communications. But two things will change:
  1. Originally, I hoped to develop the Patronopolis into a structure that could be adopted by many artists. I had visions of building the Patronopolis into the next Kickstarter — a platform for empowering communities everywhere to invest in the creative processes of the artists they love. Although I can still see this vision, and believe in it, I also see now that bringing it into reality is a full-time job, and that’s not a job I want to take on. So for now, I’m relinquishing the Grand Vision for the Patronopolis, but hoping we can keep the concept alive on the small scale: here, now, us, this.
  2. For almost two years, Patronopolis members have been donating financial support toward my projects-in-process, underwriting my artistic development and creative spaces. I am unclear about what my financial needs will be in relation to this move, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be reducing expenses and that I will not need to ask for as much help for a little while. (I’ll keep you posted!) Also, to all of you who are helping to fund my current studio space: I’m now looking for a renter to fill this space, and when I find one, I’ll be sure to let you know so we can end your monthly automated donations or make any other adjustments necessary. The generosity Patronopolis members have shown me has been crucial to the work I’ve done for the last two years. Thank you all — I look forward to sending you updates from Choteau!
This fall marked my 13-year anniversary of moving to Missoula. No place has ever felt as much like home to me; I’ve never felt such a sense of belonging as I feel in this community. It will be hard to leave it, even if it turns out to be only a temporary shift. But I also feel excited and ready for this change.

I look forward to spending the next two-and-a-half months enjoying all of you and relishing life in Missoula. Thank you for all the many, many gifts you’ve given me. I hope to see you at the Spring Rumpus on May 17!

With love and gratitude,


P.S. Tickets go on sale for the Rumpus in a few weeks — I’ll let you know.

P.P.S. If you hear of anyone looking for office space or a furnished house to rent for the summer, send them my way! (I’ll be looking for a long-term renter, with the house unfurnished, starting in the fall.)