Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Vacation.

Well, I could be writing to you from London or Paris or Germany or even from some island off the coast of Africa. I could have, like so many of my city friends, taken a break from summer heat (or rain!) and traipsed off to foreign locales. But no. I chose to stay close to home this summer and see if I could finish the book by the end of September. And that's how I ended up sitting for 10 days at a picnic table in the back yard of Fred and Heige's house in Rosendale, NY.

They've gone off to a wedding in Iowa - what promises to be an amazing wedding by the way - and I've volunteered to stay here with the three cats and the gallery.

I wrote the first chapter of the book at Fred and Heige's other house here in Rosendale some months ago now. The back deck had a canopy over it and was perfectly private. I could sit looking over the back yard and pound out my scrappy chapter attempts in rain or shine. I liked that house better. Sitting in the yard here, where they moved a couple of months ago, I am visible to every car that passes by on the road (how can a road so small have so much traffic?) and to the neighbors/landlords whose house is less than 50 yards away. I haven't found a comfortable place to sit with my computer. I think I'll have to go down to the gallery tomorrow and see if I can work there. It's a bummer.

Otherwise, I am enjoying my time out of the city. I quit smoking. I'm reading a bunch of great books. I feel productive and healthy. I'm just restless.

I have uncomfortible blues. I'm kind of sad and lonely - and antisocial all at once. Nowhere at all feels quite right. The length of this book project is bringing me down. I am afraid of finishing it, afraid it may be no good, afraid I'll never get an agent. I guess Rosendale isn't London or Dresden but it's not New York. For that I am, at the moment, grateful.

The sun has removed the shadow from the picnic table now and the afternoon's gold light makes everything around me high-definition. A few feet left of me there is a small pond where tadpoles, the tiny stubs of new legs adorning the base of their tails, dart from the bottom silt to the bright surface. When they break the surface, it sounds as though someone has thrown a penny into the pond. Beyond is a large sloping meadow, grasses and wildflowers waist high, that glows and shimmers in the breeze and sun. Deer, tame enough to be out all day and close to the house, mill in the shadow of the woods at the back of the meadow. Red tail hawks scream from the sky all day long as they circle looking for mice. Cardinals and phoebes dart into and out of the pinoak tree to my right. The grass under my feet under the table is cool and makes me think, when I pause to look around me, to search for another word, of being a girl in the hollow, young and seldom in shoes.

I'll be here a week yet. I'll settle in.