Confession Tuesday: From a Writing Residency Edition

Dear Reader,

I am writing in a cabin on a cliff surrounded by blackberry bushes and ferns.  There are old madrona trees and California poppies, stairs to climb, and a small bunny that runs through the grass occasionally.

As they say in the Chicago song, "Everybody needs a little time away..."

To the confessional--

It's a lazy day of rain and writing, and by lazy I mean productive, but I am still in pajamas and will be in them most the day.

I confess there will be naps interrupted by genius ideas or spiders.

I am working on Hourglass Museum, ready to send it off to my editor, hoping I have made it better, stronger.

I'm not writing new poems for it, but just tinkering, making sure I haven't left out any small words, words I hear in my head, but have forgotten to put on paper.

Being on a writing residency disconnects me from everyday stuff that clogs my brain.

I confess I realize how much I need these just to clear my head, especially once I arrive.

Once my head is clear, I can see the manuscript opening up, expanding.  I can see my work in the right lighting, or place it in its best lighting so you can't see the concealer, the bags under its eyes, under my eyes.

If you have never gone on a writing retreat, you should.

You should take time for yourself to write, to go so deeply into your work that you feel this state of ecstasy.

By the end of this week, I will feel that too.  It's a strange feeling I ache for.  Though sometimes it scares me because it is so strong, and it worries me that what I feel is not in sync with what you will (hopefully) read.  It's a euphoria I do not feel when writing at home because after a day of writing at home, an evening of home life, of wearing other hats, begins.

Here I am only a writer, an artist.

I confess I think every writer should do this at least once a year if not more.

You should go on a writing retreat and decide to do this for yourself because no one else is going to give you permission.  You must choose yourself.

In this world, you must step forward.

You must say as a writer or artist, "I am worth it."

You must ignore what others think and choose you sometimes.

I confess this isn't easy to do.  People love to let you know what they think of your choices, how you are living your life, how you are raising your children, how you _____________________ fill-in-the-blank.

What they forget is the "your" infront of the word "life."  Not "their" or "my."

We each create the life we want and if you're not happy with it, there's this wonderful thing called choice, called action, called changing plans.

I confess this post is just as much for me as it is for you.

My brain is saying yes to art right now.

I confess I love this place.  I confess I love hearing the rain drip on the blackberry vines and having no other place to be.


~ Kells

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  1. Beautifully said. That time alone, without the duties and responsibilities of daily life are a necessary part of writing.

  2. I confess I love hearing you confess. And I am liberated to confess even more. I confess to envy and to YES, to the retreating from hustle, bustle.

    We are also fortunate we have choice.

  3. Thank you for this - getting ready for a 2 week residency and both thrilled and panicked by the prospect of digging that deeply without any other responsibilities.

  4. Ah, to be there again, too. Such a wonderful thing to do. I will definitely plan to go again next year.

    All the best with your ms! It will be great~

  5. Thanks for your words. Exactly what I needed to hear. Good luck with m'script 3.

  6. Good for you, Kelli. I have a residency in February lined up but I am looking for a good place for August... Any suggestions?


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