Thursday, January 14, 2010

Soapstone - 14 JAN 2010

So.  This is it.  My last day here at Soapstone.  I leave tomorrow morning.

I'm struggling not to mourn my loss before I even leave.  (I hate it when I do that!)  Really, though, all I feel is joy.

I woke up this morning and looked out at the river a while.

I came downstairs and made some coffee, and built a fire.

I wrote up in the cube, looking down at the water and the woods.

What have I written, while I've been here?  Well...  I have sixty pages, now, of "The Year I Don't Remember."  They're still in pretty messy shape.  This play is deeply personal, and I don't really think I'm ready to do more with it yet.  The other play I've been working on is called "Magellanica," and focusing on it has exploded all my previous notions; I think it's going to be bigger, bolder and more exciting (to work on, at least!) than I ever imagined.  It's going to be FUN.  I discovered the heart of the play here, and began to listen to its music, and to get a notion of its trajectory.

Words aren't the only thing I've found in these woods, though.  I feel like I've found myself again, in a way.

The world gets so busy sometimes.  All telephones and traffic.  Much as I've enjoyed living in Los Angeles, it has a whole lot of both.  I had gotten very tired.  The concrete is overwhelming.  Sometimes I had trouble hearing myself think.

A. and I had dinner together tonight.  After two weeks of silence (she had wanted her time here to be one of silent meditation and writing), it was lovely to talk over our experience here.  We both agreed that it took almost a week for us to settle in -- to use a term from Madeleine L'Engle's writing, to really deepen.  It was only then that the writing really began to flow.

I have rested here.  Does it make me sound crazy if I say it helped me remember how to breathe?  I have walked amongst the trees and let their strength and solidity make me feel stronger, and more solidly rooted in this earth.  I have lifted my face to the rain, and feel refreshed.

I have written.

I am happy.

Thank you to all the people who have created Soapstone, and who let me come here to live and work for two wonderful weeks.  It has been a great gift.  I will cherish the memory of it forever.


Ann said...

Thank you, I so enjoyed reading about your stay at Soapstone, and loved the fantastic photos you posted. I live on the East Coast in Westchester County just north of NYC & found your blog serendipitously via some links by Ellen Notbohm on Facebook. I'm not a published author and I'm light-years away from the days when I would just write poetry and essays for sheer enjoyment, since I have a son with autism and other priorities that have pulled me on a completely different path, but I've been moved by reading about Soapstone and the blogs of its women residents. I know I won't be able to ever be there, but Soapstone seems to also be a state of mind, and something that can be found inside any of us as women who write for love. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences there through these awesome & beautiful images and thoughts. Best, -Ann

EM Lewis said...


Thank you for your kind comments on my Soapstone blogging! It was a great gift of time and solitude to work on my writing.

I think you're right, though, that Soapstone is not just a place but also a state of mind -- I've brought a lot of that with me, back into my "real" life.

Keep writing for the love of it. That's the best and truest kind.