Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Counting down the days to MacDowell

In fifteen days, I'll board a Southwest Airlines flight to Manchester, New Hampshire.
From there, I'll take a one-hour shuttle to Peterborough, New Hampshire,
home of The MacDowell Colony's 450-acre wooded artists' retreat.
In fifteen days, I'll meet the many folks I've been emailing. It will be wonderful
to put a face to a name. I will finally figure out how to pronounce this name: "Kyle,"
who, as it turns out, is a girl.
In fifteen days, I'll be shown my private studio in the woods. I'll unpack my suitcase
and set out my supplies. I'll examine the "tombstones" that are already in the
studio. I'll freak out to find Alice Walker's name, or Michael Chabon's, or his wife's, Ayelet
Waldman's. I'll be starstruck. I'll have to say the Hail Mary to calm myself down,
or Psalm 23, which, this past summer, I finally memorized. After I Get My Shit Together (*cold
water splashed on face*), I'll eat dinner (or is it supper there?) with thirty or so other
artists at the colony.
I will probably hyperventilate; I will probably talk too much, because that's what
happens when I am in a new environment; I will probably need to find a toilet Right Effing Now,
because that's what I do when I am in a new environment and I am nervous: my irritable
bowel works itself into a frenzy.
I have already begun losing sleep: I am anxious; I am excited; I am pumped.
Mostly, I am a bit undone about what it is, exactly, that I'll be writing once I get there.
I have great plans to rewrite the novel I started the summer before my dad died (2006).
I have great plans to finish the collection of essays I started this summer.
I have great plans to write more short stories.
Today I called the pharmacy to get a refill on my Xanax, a script I so infrequently
use that the prescription number was worn off the bottle, having rolled around in my
purse, unused, for the better part of half a year. I might need the little white pill; might not.
Better be there, though, just in case.

No comments: