Charles Conley

Art Discipline: 
N. Merrich, NY
United States
Dates of Residence: 
Dec 29, 2006 to Feb 23, 2007

Recently of Minneapolis, Charles Conley comes to the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts to complete a short story collection and begin work on his first novel. Later in the year, he will be attending the Can Serrat International Artist Center in Barcelona, Spain. He received an MFA from the University of Minnesota, has been a finalist for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Winter Fellowship, and has a story forthcoming in The Southern Review. He is originally from Long Island. "In my writing, I explore the relationship between the individual and community. As writers, we often have to create distance between ourselves and our communities-their expectations, values, and taboos-in order to pursue our writing. It is not without sacrifice, though, because within that distance, acceptance, comfort, solidarity, and identity can be lost. In some of my stories, I write about the pressures on the creative individual to turn aside from his or her desires to satisfy the expectations of family, coworkers, or friends. In others, such as "Before Cappuzzi," I write about what happens when we are seduced by the lure of individualism and lose the sense of community we once had. In "Cadillac Hearse," we meet a woman who has chosen in opposition to her community many times-by studying in America, by marrying an American, and by cheating on her husband-but whose central story involves a return to her hometown in Peru. By exploring this subject in so many of my stories, I am attempting to understand myself as an individual and artist within and against the idea-and the actuality-of community."