A view of the woods and hills in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Lush green leaves frame the photo and there is a rolling field of grass, which ends in tall green trees.

On balancing isolation and community

Last month I took a trip to Arkansas for a writing residency.

The thing about writing residencies is that you’re often in community with other writers while there. You share living quarters or a common area. You attend each other’s workshops and public readings. You bump into each other while navigating the town surrounding your residency space.

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A one-lane road in the blue evening in Tennessee. A crescent moon hangs high in the sky. A porch light shines mid-foreground.

On my residency in Tennessee.

Last month I attended my first in-person writing residency in Knoxville, Tennessee. On my way out the door, I told my spouse that I wasn’t interested in updates while I was away. During the few trips I took pre-pandemic, I would begrudgingly spend an hour on the phone listening to him detail the minutiae of what chores were completed, which kids had a tantrum, and other everyday mundanities. Now it was my first time out of the house in over a year and the thought of these calls strummed the thick bands of tension around me. I didn’t care what happened while I was away, short of death or explosion. I didn’t want anything to detract from the little sliver of freedom I was claiming for myself.

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On Changing Pace

Last month, after a hiatus from constant writing and freelance work, I realized that I am my own worst enemy. My drive and ambition get in the way of me taking time for myself. So does the need to produce and keep up and not be forgotten.

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Thoughts on Coraline and my Other Mother

When I work too much, I think about Coraline and the movie’s titular character. Specifically, I think about how Coraline’s parents were so caught up in their writing projects that they never noticed their child was sneaking off to another world and that Other Mother was trying to replace her with a button-eyed doll.

I imagine Coraline and then immediately abandon my projects for the day to play with my children.

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There’s still time to rest.

I’ve seen quite a few posts on Twitter where people are listing their accomplishments from the past decade. It’s been fascinating to see the spectrum of life unfold in so many varied yet parallel forms. Burials and births. First publications and a lack of creativity. Moving and staying rooted.

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