|Sunset; View from my cabin|
July 19, 2021
I wasn't sure what to expect when six female authors of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages all came together in one location for an entire month. Those of you who know me, know I'm a quiet kind of person, one who prefers small groups of people over large ones, who likes her alone time, and who doesn't necessarily make friends easily. You can see why I might've been anxious.
My fears were unfounded. The women here are all wonderfully supportive and mutually helpful. From the stories they tell of other residencies, this one may have spoiled me for all others. Erin Hollowell, the Executive Director here (which simply means she's the one who has to fix the doors if they break and change out the batteries in the motion detectors -- as well as fundraise, organize, shop, and ferry us into town to shop/be tourists once a week), has explicitly told us, our job here is only to be. To exist. We can write if we wish, we can recuperate if need be, we can read, we can dance in the meadow...we are to simply be.
I cannot tell you how freeing that is. While we have a few "duties" to perform (we do our own laundry on our assigned laundry day, including washing our own bedding; we also clean up after ourselves after dinner), the remaining hours of the day are ours. Breakfast is available in the main house (Eva's House), lunch is delivered to our door, and we meet as a group once a day for dinner together around the dining table, where dinner is served to us family style by the most wonderful chef, Maura. It took us a while, but we've gotten in the habit of lingering over dinner with cups of tea (perhaps spiced with a dollop of honey whiskey), discussing whatever topics come to mind. Because of our diversity, the conversation is entertaining -- and intellectual.
It's that last I wish to stress for a moment. One doesn't realize how starved one is for high conversation until one has had a year of separation. I miss our Friday Nights on the Porch back home that a bunch of us started a few years back. Several among a bunch of former acquaintances (now friends) have large porches that are conducive to sitting on through a summer's eve. I look forward to continuing that when I get home. It's been wonderful to have it here.
Tomorrow is the longest day of the year and I'm not sure where we'll end up celebrating it, but if it ends up being huddled in blankets on the porch (they've had a cold spring - finally hit 59 today!), I'm okay with that. The important part is the spirit of Storyknife - a marvelous, peaceful bit of land filled with an idea that writing is important - and that women should have a place away from all else in which to do it.
I don't ever want to leave.
I will, of course. I miss my husband very much. I miss my children and I miss my comfy chair. But I also love the fact that they all encouraged me to come here (including the chair, which, I am assured will still be there when I return). I am being renewed. I am being strengthened. I am being.