Be Like a Turtle

A sense of placelessness pervades me. A while ago, I got word that I will need to move out of the beloved cabin I’ve lived in for almost two years. I have until May 1st to find somewhere else to live. Delivered by email, the news at first felt like a fist in the gut; like something slowly twisting and turning around on its axis. Of course, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it me who was spinning, me who is so tied to place I’m hijacked by it.

But this news came on the heels of the trip to Atlanta and Cass’ visit, not to mention reuniting with a handful of Pacific faculty and friends at the AWP conference. The placelessness planted itself there, in my gut, and filled me with worry so that I began to skip meals and ignore how scary the thought of moving felt. I went to AWP, exhausted myself, learned even more, and in six short days have driven over 1,000 miles.

Tomorrow, my second packet for the MFA semester is due and so it is that I find myself suspending disbelief once again, my awareness of the knot in my stomach ever growing and time moving ever-forward and yet…I cannot bring myself to face what this may mean.

Solitude. Piece of mind. Quiet. Privacy. In short, what Woolf so aptly dubbed “a room of one’s own.” If I lose this, who I am? Where I am? What will happen to my writing?

A lot is left unanswered. I confided my fears in a friend and she paused in her work at the etching stand and pointed her aged, wise finger at me: “You are the writer, Katey. Wherever you are, you are always with yourself. Your home is like the turtle’s, on your back, in your bones.”

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