So I know I have no business harboring this dream—I work two jobs, live in a small apartment, don’t have a car, have prescriptions to worry about paying for —but I just can’t help it. I wish I could be a poet-sugar-mama. (Just to be clear, I’d support them so they could write…not in exchange for ah-hem, certain favors.)
I don’t know what it is about some writers—their personalities, their incredible work, their life stories—who make me wish I had the space and money to be able to say, “Come live here— come write here—bring your kids, your pets, your debts, your parents, your passionate-but-weary-writer-selves, whoever/whatever you can’t leave behind. Come here and write without having to worry about rent or utilities. Come here and write without having to steal time from work and sleep and family.”
And I wouldn’t invite just one writer—I’d invite at least half a dozen of you at a time.
There’s a few of you out there who probably don’t even know I think of you often and that I would invite you in a heartbeat….some of you struggling to write or promote your books while surviving on pay that’s barely-above-minimum-wage, some of you single mothers, some of you handling stressful care-giving situations, some of you dealing with your own medical/physical issues.
Moises and I talk about it every now and then—creating a massive ongoing retreat space. Multiple little houses set up far away from town. It’d be a close-knit creative community with space for privacy and solitude but also with plenty of opportunities for inspiring and learning from each other.
Back in 2005 (I think), Moises and I invited a bunch of writers to join us for a weekend at Stonehaven, a retreat center that used to exist outside of San Marcos, TX. 171 acres, a huge ranch house, and at least three or four smaller separate houses, a pool, a huge sky. Except for the wildlife (scorpions, daddy long legs, etc.), it came close to my view of heaven. I wanted to cry when it went up for sale, even bought two lottery tickets in the hopes that I’d win at least the 2.2 million needed to buy it.
Personally, I wouldn’t want a residency model—no applications and no committees and no determined stay—we’d choose who we wanted and writers would stay as long as they wanted to. Perhaps at some point, it’d be more like a commune. We could grow organic veggies and grains to feed ourselves. Have some chickens and goats. Baby-sit and parent-sit for each other. Have breakfast on the patio and talk poetry all morning.
So take heart, all of you struggling writers out there. Maybe some of you share my dream. Maybe one day it will come together. In the meanwhile, we think of you and send you many wishes for abundance…and know that Moises and I have already carved your name on one of those dreamed-of doors.