Photo by Carol Bergman
Suumer’s end and the last few hours on this beautiful screened-in porch. It’s been a pleasant working vacation: feeding chickens, looking after rabbits, looking after Willow (luxuriating on the wicker settee), and Ninja, the mouse-catching cat on our daughter and son-in-law’s homestead while they have had their vacation overseas visiting our British family.
It’s been dry; we’ve had to water. Two laying chickens died: one drowned, the other was just old. Baby rabbits were born just as we arrived. (My husband has taken care of them as I am pescatarian and they are slaughtered for meat. Big discussions!) The compost has to go out every morning. It’s an active, healthy, physical life, the perfect occasional antidote for the sedentary writing life. Lots of walks of course, a couple of lap swims for me, but no need to get to the gym. I finished a book—“Nomads 2”—and my husband finished a documentary script outline. Productive in the midst of a vacation.
And we’ve entertained city friends. They ooh and aah, ask questions, but wonder at the remoteness of the house and ask, “Could we ever live here full-time?” The answer is yes and no. Yes, because in our virtual world, connection is easy. Our daughter, a graphic designer, works for two big companies and several small ones from her homestead home and travels for appointments—in the city and elsewhere—now and again. Our son-in-law’s business is here: designing sustainable gardens and running a maple syrup business.
No, because some writers do not do well without a lot of stimulation. I am one of them. Typically I write in the midst of whatever is going on in my life. I write inside my life and about my life. I read several books at once. I like talking to people, hearing their stories. And in this remote, mountainous place, I may or may not meet someone on the road as I take my morning walk with Willow. Usually not. So, it’s okay for two weeks to refuel and relax, but not as a place to live full-time.
Sure, my husband, Jim, is company, and we talk a lot, work in tandem and talk about our work, but it’s not the same as a subway ride or a class full of interesting, energetic, motivated students. One of many reasons I love teaching. The NYU term begins on the 30th of this month. I can’t wait.