The retreat cottage was in Silver Cliff, CO--in a high mountain valley near the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The yard was fenced, so Duncan loved it, kept asking to go in and out just for the sheer joy of having me open the door on demand, no leash, dogs and cats and people in the neighborhood to watch. I loved it because there was a fireplace in the front room, lots of color and good art on the walls, and best of all, no phone, no TV, no computer, no noise. I learned that I really can do a lot of writing without all those distractions and excuses. It felt good to just sink down into the poems, wrestle with revisions, and see some results. And of course, get a start on a new piece. I slept when I was tired, ate when I was hungry, walked twice a day in gorgeous weather with those amazing mountain peaks always in view. The air was clear and the sun warm enough in the afternoon to sit outside for a while. I will definitely go back to Bloomsbury West.
Because I have always done my early drafts longhand, not having the laptop with me was no sacrifice, and now I have six pieces revised and ready to retype, and the new one to commit to Times New Roman. These poems give me direction for today and maybe tomorrow. And this morning, I found myself turning off the news after just a couple of minutes. There is no reason that I cannot create the quiet that I so enjoyed in Silver Cliff. What I have realized is that I use music, noise, to mask thinking when it gets hard or scary. I depend on the distraction to relieve whatever anxiety rises with me in the morning as I think ahead to the day's events and wonder if I can do anything right. That's a leftover from being a shy, scared kid who never thought she could accomplish anything, but was too silly to say so. If I can drive through those mountains, live in solitude, and still write, I'm thinking I can maybe write a poem that matters.