In March, I was lucky enough to be an artist-in-residence at the Bloedel Reserve. The Bloedel Reserve is a unique public garden located at the north end of Bainbridge Island. Their mission is to “enrich peoples lives through a premier public garden of designed and natural Pacific Northwest Landscapes.”
My life and work have been enriched! After writing four hours each morning, I walked four miles through the reserve. I journaled, read, huddled around candles during a power outage. I make progress on my book. I questioned myself. I sat in silence.
The Pacific Northwest is painfully green. This color green cannot be captured by camera. You have to be surrounded by it until certain color cones and rods burn out and all you can see is red.
This is where I wrote, day after day. Then one day, two women were at my door. A board member brought another writer to “check the place out.” That other writer ended up being Natalie Goldberg, author of my first ever book on craft (discovered in college), Writing Down the Bones.
It was like having one of my earliest teachers come to bless the residency. She looked in every room, pushed my papers around, sat on the couch and put up her feet. This is how the blessing happens.
From Writing Down the Bones…
Writing can be very lonely. Who’s going to read it, who cares about it? A student asked me, “Do you write for yourself or do you write for an audience?” Think of sharing your need to talk with someone else when you write. Reach out of the deep chasm of loneliness and express yourself to another human being. Write so they understand. Art is communication. Taste the bitterness of isolation, and from that place feel a kinship and compassion for all people who have been alone.
Thank you Bloedel Reserve for 2 weeks to be alone.