Ah, to be outside one’s typical milieu for the first time in 16 months!
I think about how it is when I am at home, trying to write—the cats are constantly jumping up on me, getting in the way of my computer, sitting on the books I’m using for research, whatever. There are endless things to clean (not that I get up and clean them, but whatevs, they taunt me). The phone rings constantly. The emails and work fires intervene. Someone in the cul-de-sac invariably manicures on his lawn, the incessant whine and growl of lawnmowers and weed-whackers destroying my concentration. It is hard to find a creative “zone” when too many things make demands on your attention.
Since I have been here at Rockvale (in Tennessee, 35-ish miles south of Nashville as the crow flies) I have reveled in the almost uninterrupted quiet. I read here in my “cell” (a beautifully appointed room with a cozy chair and desk and bed with a quilt on it from 1925) or in the fireplace room (which smells of a century of winter fires), and write in a little pool of sunlight on the enclosed porch. It is almost like I alone have run of the place. But there are other women here too, working on their own writing, finding their own paths. Except for a little chitchat in the kitchen when preparing meals, the only noise is the AC turning on and off. What must it be like to have this kind of quiet all the time? I think I didn’t realize how exhausted and depleted I’ve been feeling until I rediscovered my own being here in this writer’s colony. I am truly decompressing.
From my window, I can see a paddock, and usually there’s a mama and her foal far out on the other side, nipping the grass. Today they were over by the fence nearest me, so I went out there and got to pet Scout. His mama (whose real name is Little Mexico (?)) didn’t come too close, but Scout seemed pretty interested in me, and in debonair Finn and chonky Ollie, the two cats who came running when they saw me. (I can’t escape cats!) Scout was so interested that he gave me a big chomp on my forearm—which hurts a bit, but didn’t break the skin. Still, I’d pet him again if he came to this side of the fence.
I feel grateful to be here. I think after a year and a half-ish of being shut in the house, I just needed…another house. 😊 I needed a place of clutter-free, basically cat-free peace. (And wifi and cell service are spotty, so I’m even hard to reach, which actually, I love.) I am hoping to get some good writing done. I’ve already brainstormed a number of ideas of where to go on my next project, I’ve organized a list of what I have, I’ve done some journaling (I know, what a shocker!) and I’ve read two whole books for research already.
Tomorrow, I’m writing two poems if it kills me. And maybe I’ll go visit Scout again.