I have come today to my fourth writing retreat in Napa. My first time, I remember, I arrived at the retreat very early in the afternoon. I was toting a large bin of files and a smaller one as well in addition to my suitcase (miniature in comparison). I had to MacGuyver a set up that would allow me to take the whole set up to my room in one trip. The second year, too, I arrived with such a rig to maneuver, though much smaller than the first time. In each of those years, I had 10+ items to accomplish while at the writer’s retreat. My third year, I had literally just touched ground from a writing retreat I took in Vieques, Puerto Rico. I had been writing for 10 days by that point. I arrived late in the evening with a suitcase and a backpack.
This was the first year I carpooled with a colleague, arriving later in the evening. It was the first time that I worked while driving, collaborating with a colleague and friend on a logic model for an assessment grant that we are working on. It was also the first year that I arrived with such a short list.
I’m working on sending my publisher information and refining an article that I have been working on for years. Simple in comparison to the work of others.
What I am finding as I begin this journey is that I don’t really want to work on that article that has drawn my attention for years. I have an essay to write on education today that is interesting. It was requested by a colleague in Sri Lanka. That might be interesting. I have new poems that I wish to write. I’m lately interested in the Black prophetic tradition, calling down folk like Sojourner and Harriet and June Jordan and Amiri Baraka and others who would not call themselves prophets, most likely. It’s definitely my next book project. Still, I know that I will be working on much of that in the context of the MFA program. I don’t necessarily need to work on that now.
Perhaps it is strange, but after so many weeks of working on a house renovation, I just want to be in a space with no purpose. This is not possible, but tonight I most likely will not do a great deal of the work that needs to be done. Tonight, I may just be still, which I think is ok and necessary to do academic and creative work.