These are the last key strokes before I pack up this typer and head out to the great writing yonder on my one week residency. Everyone here is poised for the journey in their own way, and calling on all their coping mechanisms. Shrek is nothing but supportive, light, and “we so got this” as he makes me a loaf of bread and his five star egg salad while prepping the pancakes. Marcel is painting everywhere, and doing acrobatics at the same time. Sam is sleeping.
I am drinking too much coffee, and repeating a few necessary mantras like; “it will be exactly what it is meant to be.” And, “it’s OK if they don’t completely fall apart in my absence…” The dominant series being; “You did it. You designed it. You earned it. Now GET it. Enjoy it all Catherine…”
I have packed lightly; clothing, a few necessary altar items, and some don’t need to live without food items. The main heft being a selection of books to inspire, distract, and push. Among the titles; Annie Lamont’s Bird by Bird, Robert Pinsky’s The Sound of Poetry, Maxine Hong Kingston’s To Be the Poet. Richard Blanco, Philip Booth, Marge Piercy are in between the favorite sweatshirt, and the letters from the boys. Janna Malamud Smith’s An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery is in the bag next to my lunch.
Last night I read Smith’s chapter on solitude and the creative. She provides a compelling argument for why we crave and believe in the importance of time away to do the art. She debunks the myth in part as well. In between I found myself embracing this line on the eve of my first such journey;
We hold a distorted notion that our feelings and creative impulses need to be only ours and harvested by us in isolation. But the reality is richer…Simply put, to sustain the effort of art making, it helps to have a sense, felt more than thought, sometimes eroticized, sometimes not- of someone, or several who stay(s) near you in your mind, and who is interested in you and what you have to say. Such fantasies are ubiquitous parts of mental life, hardly only the domain of art-makers. But the difference is that they particularly need to arrange a balance that stimulates their creativity yet supports their solitude. (p. 133)
So dear readers, friends, and family know that I can not enjoy a moment of this without the knowledge that you are coming with me in my mind, asking me to do more of what I do best. Because, I believe that you care about the results.
Bowing with gratitude here.