Look how the sun has emerged, despite
expectations and the wringing of hands.
A new warmth arises on the April wind.
I am here again at an old crossroads:action
at odds with intention. Accomplishment sacrificed
to the short-term pleasure of just being here.
–Barbara Swift Brauer, from “Changing Forecast”
West Marin Review, Spring 2008
Do pardon my ridiculously long hiatus. What kind of devoted blogger just up and vanishes like that?
I vanished, alright. One day I was in East Point, Georgia, and the next day–poof! I was gone. For some reason, I thought I would manage to keep blogging throughout this latest relocation (yes, my second cross-country move in eight months). Over the last few weeks, I packed up everything I own and drove it over 3,000 miles to Petaluma, California.
After a brief and dark affair with the long-romanticized South–not to mention extra poundage primarily attributable to The Flying Biscuit–I feel lucky as hell to be back land of milk and honey (and all around healthier cuisine) known as California. It was touch and go there for a few months, as my husband and I hemmed and hawed over the prospect of an international relocation to Denmark. Ultimately–and no doubt to the disappointment of travel hungry friends and family–I decided that the San Francisco Bay Area feeds my work and life in a way that no place else can.
En route, I thought that I’d be able to pound out enthusiastic blog entries from, say, the scuzzy motel where we stayed in Henryetta, Oklahoma. War correspondents can write from Basra, after all. But I guess I’m just not hardcore like that. After a 10-hour shift at the wheel, anything I had to say was bound to be an incomprehensible stream of mush. Just ask my husband.
Besides, I couldn’t take my eyes off the scenery. I’ve talked a lot of shit about America during the Bush/Cheney era, but this country remains a beautiful place full of amazing, kind, generous people. Seeing the Ouachita Wilderness in Arkansas (home of the best beef jerky in the world, swear to God), the wild and inviting grasslands of Oklahoma, and the Mojave Desert in full bloom made me feel a renewed pride in my native country.
Suffice it to say I haven’t gotten a whole lot of work done in recent weeks, paid or unpaid. Let us not even discuss the guilt that this induces.
I did get into graduate school, however! In light of all the recent change I’ve undergone, I’m deferring, so that I’d start in December rather than June. But I remain thrilled to have finally, finally created the option of pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
Also, a week before the Penske moving truck made liftoff, I worked with fabulous designer Larissa Pickens to create a new business card. It was an intensive process that taught me a lot about myself–the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’d definitely like to dog-ear the topic of self-branding for a later post.
Meanwhile, I’m here in a temporary home that truly inspires me. Are you ready for this?
My address for the next few months will be a shiny, vintage, 1957 Spartan trailer with hot tub and swimming pool on a beautifully landscaped plot of acreage in Sonoma County. It’s adorable (and as you can imagine, ridiculously cheap!) and I’m having a ball decorating the nicely polished wood interior. I was actually looking for a yurt, but then I realized that a trailer comes with plumbing and built-in furnishings. Need I say more? Are your white-trash fantasies vicariously fulfilled?
Mine would be too, if this wasn’t such a posh little arrangement. And did I mention … cheap!?
Upon our arrival out West, my husband flew straight to Denmark, where he’ll work till June. So I have a few glorious months here alone at “the cabin”(for that is what a lady of refinement says when she does not wish to reveal that she lives in a trailer). Rejuventation and productivity are top priorities. Morning yoga on the deck, writing in the afternoon, and wine in the hot tub have set a good pace so far.
There are people who will tell you that place does not matter–that you should be able to be happy anywhere. I would not debate that a person can be happy anywhere. But shit, when you can pay peanuts to sit in a hot tub beneath a full sky of stars contemplating the next chapter of your novel … why wouldn’t you?