I went into the woods because a house pulls on your brain. It demands things of you. It wants you to use its kitchen, then clean it up. It wants you to use its bathroom, then clean it up. It wants you to dust and vacuum, to sort and put away. It is a demanding creature and I don’t think I can ever satisfy it. So every now and then… I leave it.
When I can, I leave it for the hills of Pennsylvania, where a quiet cabin awaits me. The cabin is giving and forgiving, it wants nothing in return. Down the hill from my cabin is a staffed kitchen full of smiling folks who cook and clean. They are better than House Elves. Because of them, I do not have to look at dirty pots and pans. I do not have to think about meal preparation. All I have to think about is what I want to think about, which is writing.
For me, this is true freedom. Each time I come here, I leave with well written chapters and renewed energy for writing. I leave with new ideas and refurbished old ones. But while a cabin can offer you escape, and freedom, it cannot love you. Which is Why I Always Go Back Home to the demanding house that holds dust and dirty dishes… family and love.
* * *
I wrote the above while attending the Highlights Unworkshop in October of 2012, intending to post it as soon as I got
home. But one thing after another distracted me. And now, as I work on a novel I was contracted to write since returning home from that unworkshop, I am wishing for the focus that being away brings!
The sink is full of dirty dishes. The laundry waits impatiently. But I am writing anyway today. And I am happy. Whether at home, or away from it all, I hope you are too.
Nerdy Chick interviews return next week!
I had looked at a Highlights workshop, but decided it was too expensive. But after reading your post, I’m going to go for it. I just spent the same amount of money on a stupid dental implant–kinda put things in perspective.
It has been worth it for me, Mary. The one I described above was just writing time, with no instruction. But I have been to some in the past that offer instruction. My favorite ones are taught by Patti Gauch.
I applied to the Whole Novel-Middle Grade in March. Here’s hoping.
I think you’ll love it! And I feel like you’ll get in with no problems, unless they are already full. 🙂
The fewer distractions, the better. I used to have the TV on for background noise while I wrote or edited, and now I prefer nothing. EVen music can be a distraction, depending on what I’m working on. A cabin in the woods sounds great–except for my paranoia about being alone in the woods. And that whole movie Cabin in the Woods… 🙂
There were writers in other cabins around there, so you’re not really alone… unless you’re in your cabin. You have neighbors, in other words!
Great post! All the more reason to get a cabin the mountains in order!
Are you going this year, Kami? Which one? I’ve not been back since we met each other at Chautauqua. VCFA took that spot for me but I’ve been thinking about returning. I’d love to see the new barn and experience Honesdale.
Hey Anna, I doubt I will make it back this year because I’ve been there to one workshop or another for the past three years. Honesdale is a great experience though! Especially for me, since I live far from most other children’s writers. Hope to see you in NE!
So enjoyed this post. You are very write. A house wants things. It almost reminds me of ‘Tuesdays at the Castle.’ I get more done when I’m somewhere else!
Thanks Beth… I get more done away too. But there’s still no place like home!
As one of those cabin neighbors and a frequent visitor to the Highlights Foundation’s programs, I fully endorse every word you said, Kami. And I like the way you said them. I’ll be there at the end of the month, & I’ll think about you as I walk the creek road.
Thanks Kathy! It’s great that you can go back so soon. I wish I lived closer!