I’m writing this on the last evening of my two-week writing residency. Residency sounds so official; you might also say vision quest, retreat, sabbatical, or, even vacation. Working vacation (sort of).
I’ve been staying in a “cabin” (cabin in aesthetic only, not in degree of comfort) in the woods, with a perhaps 160 degree view of Lake Superior. By myself. Under the hospitality of a small, family-run non-profit that has made it their business to open this place and space and time for writers and other artists.
Two weeks of waking up to a big window full of tangerine sunrise, lying still and quiet for a few minutes, fixing mochi and coffee for breakfast, and then getting to work. Writing. Reading Jane Kenyon (an a lot of other things) out loud. Sitting in a big, soft recliner watching the horizon. Wading around in a big book about the evolutionary history of motherhood. Walking in the woods and on a long cobble beach. Calling home every evening and hearing the whole other kind of joy that is a house full of brilliant little girls. Reading more or less a whole shelf of things I’d been wanting to read for ages.
And writing more than I believed I’d be able to. I didn’t know that my creative energy would expand so miraculously to fill this time. And to fill this space! At home, my poetry books and drafts and so on live compactly in my little corner writing space. Here, it’s been a thrill to see three tables—and often the floor—spread with them.
There is the niggling question of quantity vs. quality. But I’m suspending judgment about that. There’s lots more learning to do, and more and more writing, and more to say—which I’ll save for another post or more—about what I thought I’d write, and what I’ve been working on instead, and what I’m learning.
For now, I am soaking up these last hours here in the quiet. I miss A and May and August. I can’t actually say I am eager to throw everything in the car and see this stunning place and time in my rear view mirror. At the same time, I can’t wait to hold them all, and be back in our home, back in our life.