There’s so much I’ve been wanting to say and it’s not coming out right. Here’s how this goes:

The board games were less about the pot brownies and so much more about how getting lost in a game gives permission to let it all go. Each player ended up embodying whatever characteristics he/she needed to indulge in. Call it Parker Brothers goes therapeutic. The point is, the beauty and spontaneity that allows such a situation comes from some sudden magic between friends. And that was what we brought in the New Year with

And furthermore, the work with LM. Seven hours of interviews. Sixteen pages single-spaced of transcribed notes to be paired down to a 3,000 word feature. I’ve been swimming in her life and work for days on end, finding it in my dreams and behind my lids even in daylight when I close them for a moment of pause. It’s deeply personal sharing and I have to turn around and make a profoundly professional product. What I do know is that her story is just one woman’s story, one sibling’s story, one daughter’s story, one story. I cannot indulge the published interview in total subjectivity and this is where the editing comes in: It’s my heart and soul responsibility to find the best of this woman’s words to represent her art as fine art, not as solely therapeutic. The focus is the artwork, period. Readers have to see the meaning and profundity, and not be left second-guessing. She’s trusted me with her story, and like all of ours, there are parts we tell that don’t necessarily represent us and our worlds fairly if left to stand alone as the only markers of who we are. I have to find the fair parts and highlight those and those alone. The rest is between the two of us, where it belongs.

So why couldn’t I tell those experiences in narrative? Where is my ground?

My ground is in my little cabin, with the little study, and the wide, wide, view of the Black Mountains. I haven’t been in that house since 12/24 and I won’t be back in that house until 1/30. And I haven’t walked deeply into the woods in far too long.

I am losing my sense of place and therefore my storyline. It makes me feel slightly insane. I feel it in my body and my body feeds my mind, my thoughts, my words.

This is an important reminder on the eve’s eve of a month-long trip. While I’m gone, I’ll need to make my house in my own two feet, carry it like a snail to the Oregon coast, then the inland city – Portland, then the mile-high city – Denver, and then the heart of the Rocky Mountains – Crested Butte. If my sense of place can’t persevere beyond physicality, then my writerly self is too limited. Let that not be the case. Let the narrative flow. Let the ground be the river, the undulations of time and thought, the pacings of the heart.

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