For a too-brief but blissful spell last month, I had a room of my own for writing, thanks to a writing residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA. If you’re a VCCA Fellow, you get a studio to work in. Mine had a desk, bookshelf, bulletin board, and day bed. Here’s the view I had while I worked:
The studio complex occupies a former barn and stables/outbuildings. You can see the old grain silos in the background of the photo, but to me it looks like, and felt like, being in an enchanted castle, a place of stillness and magic.
The golden rule of the place, religiously observed, is that nobody interrupts you while you’re working unless invited to. And I worked. I worked more than I have in a long time, with good breaks for walks and naps and reading, and reminded myself that I CAN focus for sustained periods of time when I have the time and space to do it.
I was also reminded how lovely it is to have nature nearby. One day, as I wrote, a dragonfly kept me company outside the window. Birds kept busy in the trees and the wild patches around the property. I heard a coyote, I think, one starry night when the Milky Way flowered across the sky. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen the Milky Way.
I wrote, and I wrote, and I came home again the better for it, with a clearer idea of where I’m headed next creatively, even if I don’t have always get to have a writing room of my own.