I feel incredibly vulnerable after my writing residencies. After a week of no news/tv/radio/internet, no connection with others except for 2 other favorite writers & text messages with my family, when I return to the "real world," I need a day or two to slowly return into my regular life.
My writing residency ended Tuesday.
By Tuesday night, I was home and unpacked. By Wednesday morning, I was caring for a sick, aging guinea pig.
Our guinea pig didn't make it. My husband was back at work, my daughter was in tears and I was thinking, "Holy moly, this is not the reality I wanted to jump back into!"
I'm too sensitive when it comes to pets or animals, so there were a lot of tears from me as well. I'll admit that.
I'll admit that when I'm at this writing residency, I can see my life simpler-- an apartment, less stuff, less responsibility, less (um, no) yard to take care of, a life that focuses on writing and less on domesticity...but how to achieve that in the real world?
As people in the real world, sometimes we make choices that do not benefit us as writers.
I remember when I romanticized "a 1/3 of an acre" -- in real life, it's a pain in the butt to take care of, but I didn't think of that, I thought-- wow, how much space I'll have!
As a writer, I really do not need that much space. I need a good desk and chair. I need a comfy bed. I need good slippers and a bookcase. And really, not much else. A full fridge is good. A shower, some windows, a place to store my food-- these are what I need. Not a big house, or yard, or guest room.
Sometimes as regular people we make bad decisions-- maybe out of ego, maybe out of not thinking, maybe just out of ease--but sometimes we end up with more than we want, more than we need.
When I'm on a residency, I realize how satisfied I am with little, with less.
If you're a writer or artist, think about this whenever you make a purchase or a move-- from where you want to live from what you bring into your life. And choose SIMPLE whenever you can.
I speak from experience.
In a few years, I plan on selling my larger house for an apartment or condo or rental or small cottage with a small yard. My satisfaction in my life comes with how much time I have to write and create, the rest is just stuff.
I cherish relationships and time.
Sometimes we have to go away to realize this. Sometimes we have to age or even just pay a little more attention.
I choose people and I choose time.
I have a lot to learn, but am working towards a simpler existence, every day. And I do believe, one day I will figure out exactly how to have it.
Coming back from a residency makes me want to keep my "retreat mind." Focused and happy. It's hard to do in the real world. But small steps towards a better existence. I'm trying. And learning. And slowly, it's beginning to come through.