I am stunned with gratitude and humbled by all the generosity, and warmth that welcomed me to this magnificent writers residency.
I could barely sleep last night from the fortune of it all.
I walked in the side door to a place setting for me at a table set for eight. I followed as one of the outgoing writers (the residency is anywhere from one to six weeks long) graciously carried my suitcase to my perfect room, with the writers desk up against the window, and joined the assembled for dinner. I listened to their stories, took in their reasons for being here and mined as much as I could from the two who would be leaving in the morning.
We are poets, essayists, novelists, children’s book writers, musicians, journalists, playwrights, and memoir writers. We are from several continents. We are white. We span about a twenty year age span. We are married, divorced, single, partnered, childless, and parenting. We share meals, and if the first night is any indication of what is to come-we will share the maps we’ve got folded up or and not too tucked away- that got us here from there.
I spent the morning with Bell Hooks’ “Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life” as it presented itself to me at breakfast on the table next to me. I took that is a sign that I was meant to listen to. Reaching back out to the ether via this blog could help me to land somehow. As does the little camera on my phone. I can have this experience more immediately, or mediated perhaps as Hooks might say, if I look at myself through that lens too.
The boys are steady as can be in Shrek’s unimaginably calm and present loving care. We spoke this morning. How blessed and fortunate I am. A special bow of gratitude to a certain artist friend of mine, who emailed me some mighty reasonable advice on how to do a residency. You and yours have given me complete permission to let this week unfold as it will. Thank you both.
Finally, I am writing here all of this miraculous good good I got going here to encourage any of you who are reading to this point and thinking; “Could I ever so such a thing…” that you could, and you should. This months Poets and Writers magazine features a section on Writers Retreats. What are you waiting for?
Yes, little poem, I see you there in the margins. It is time to return to you now…