Gratitude

I’m in Alaska at my writing residency. It’s lovely here, and I feel extraordinarily lucky to be here. My tourist day in town — the day before I came up to the residency itself — was studded with random moments when I’d be walking around and suddenly “Thank you,” would just bubble out of me. Out loud. Literally just saying it aloud as I walked on the beach, as I stood in the museum, as I sipped mead, as I stared up at the mountains. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve never had gratitude burst out of me before. It’s a curious feeling. I’d like to experience it some more!

I’m here to write. I’m here, most specifically, to work on “Fat Talk” essays. I am determined to shape that series into a collection. And, while I haven’t been away from the project for long, I kind of have, too. I did some writing in November, but never cleaned it up and posted it. I’ve been thinking about the project, but haven’t gotten any words on paper.

So these two weeks are time to pull this project back to the front of my brain and see what’s what.

And that’s hard and stressful because a lot of what I want to write about it hard and stressful. Having to put into words the ways in which I have been mistreated is hard. Having to put into words the ways in which I have mistreated myself is harder. It’s good to be here to do this. To have time and silence to push through the rough pieces. To have a group of writers to sit with at dinner and feel embraced and heard. This. THis is why “thank you” just kept bubbling out of me on Saturday. The understanding and anticipation of the gift of this

I came up a day early so that I could recover from a 20-hour travel day and play tourist in Homer for a minute. I wish I could have come up a full week early. I enjoyed my day of wandering in the cold and rain, however. I was exhausted — arrived at 7:30 in the morning but couldn’t check into the hotel until 5, so I had to stay awake and do something all day. And I did. Walked on the beach, stared at the mountains, had a really good omelet, went to the very excellent and inspiring Pratt Museum — if you’re going to be in Homer, for-sure visit the Pratt. It’s small and lovely. After the museum, I walked over to the Sweetgale Meadworks to try mead for the first time. I sampled all the meads ( πŸ˜‰ ) and even got pics of a visiting moose before it was time to head to the hotel. On the drive to the hotel, we passed a coffee klatch of bald eagles — six of them just hanging out on the beach. And then I discovered that I’m not too early for late daylight! I thought I’d miss the whole midnight sun extravaganza … and I will, but the sun sets after 10pm right now, so daylight just goes on and on. It’s magical.

Here are some pics from the last few days:

My first good look at Kachemak Bay, taken from the back deck of the hotel where I stayed the first night.
The flights of meads I sampled. The flight on the left had my favorites: Sweetgale, Nagoonberry, and Wildflower.
One of the two moose who came by the meadery as I was sipping mead.
The view from my hotel room … at about 9pm. Crazypants that it was still this bright out!
Hanging out at the Salty Dawg Saloon before heading out to the residency. (That Stella Cidre was good stuff!)
A piece of the view from my cabin window here at the residency. That’s Cook Inlet.
Running away to write. 10/10 highly recommend
A mated pair of Sandhill Cranes who were hanging around outside the main house when I walked up for breakfast yesterday.

And now it’s time to get back to work! ❀


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12 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Sending support for your writing residency. I loved the pics you shared. I’m not sure I should say enjoy, so instead I’ll say – Soak in the beauty and write your pain and savor this time with other writers.

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    1. You can definitely say “enjoy,” Ramona! πŸ™‚ I’m loving every minute of this residency so far. The work is slow, but I’m writing. I’m listening to cranes call, watching the rain fall, gazing at the mountains … and still saying, “thank you!” πŸ™‚

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  2. What a phenomenal experience and opportunity for you! I love that you are beside yourself with thank yous and inspired to write. Let the beauty around you absorb into your soul and nourish your writing. πŸ™‚

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  3. What a setting for reflection, inspiration, and writing. It is hard to put down on paper what has hurt us, but it is freeing and helps us move on. I have no doubt that you will get lots accomplished in your two week residency.

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  4. Oh my! Some contemplation. Some inspiration. Quite a bit of nature you sure can’t get in NYC. Plus mead and Cidre! [I -love- Stella Artois Cidre by the way.] What a great adventure already. Looking forward to reading those essays.

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    1. Thank you for reading! It’s so gorgeous here, such a welcome change from my beautiful but very concrete city. The wide-open space helps me be more open, too.

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  5. Book Dragon

    What a wonderful opportunity and experience! Thank you for sharing your photos.
    I hope it didn’t take you too long to recover from your travel day, they can be gruelling.

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