Friday, January 30, 2009

this writing life

I took some photos earlier but left the camera back in my room, at the other end of the big house, so I'll have to put them up tomorrow. We have wireless here now, but only in one area, and I'm generally just getting online once/day.

It's being a very productive week thus far. I've enjoyed the freedom to stay up late, knowing I don't have to get up by any certain time, and it's wonderful being able to work, break for a bit, and get right back to it with no other responsibilities.

The things I miss, ironically, are my barn chores. I've become so used to measuring the passage of my day by the horses and the chores that several times I've found myself wandering about the house here, looking for a chore to do. Using my hands seems to now be intimately connected to balancing my day. Fortunately, there ARE usually a few dishes in the sink here, and I can busy myself for a few minutes doing that.

Tonight all the writers in residence went out to dinner at a lovely little Greek restaurant, where we shared good food, good wine, and excellent conversation. Afterward, we wandered down to a coffee bar we thought was open for business and ended up unintentionally crashing a private birthday party (the owner's). She was incredibly gracious, and made us coffees anyway.

I also bought myself a little spirit doll, as an early birthday present. I'll take a photo later, but it has blackbird or crow or raven wings and my favorite colors - and I felt like she wanted to become my talis-woman, so now she's sitting on my desk along with the two pony figurines and my crow feather from the labyrinth path.

This morning, the property manager came upstairs and found all of us writers sitting in the kitchen sharing a few minutes' chat before we got to work for the day. He looked around at us (we are 4) and said "this is what it's all about, right here, this energy."

And he is right. It's easy to get drawn into the "publish or perish" web, and easy to mark success using that scale, but the joy of writing and the joy of living the writing life is being able to sit at the desk and do it, and to share that passion with other kindred writing spirits.

As much as I get done when I come down here, I always leave with the renewed sensibility of what being a writer truly is. It's a lifestyle. It's not whether or not someone in NY picks the query or the book or the story or the poem. It's not an advance or an x-book deal. Those are things most of us aspire to and celebrate, but they're not the most important part of this practice and this art.

We've talked a lot this week about being true to our voices and our work, and to aim high but by our own standards.

I'm grateful once again for the reminder.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh Billie. I'm so happy for you. It sounds like the weekend has been like a dream for you, filled with beautiful, spiritual moments of joy.

I can read it in your words...your happiness and calm.


billie said...

It was a wonderful week, Lisa.