Weymouth Center: House of Women, House of Ghosts

And so the Boyd house mansion fills with the sound of women’s laughter, fast fingers at the keyboards, and the nighttime footsteps not of ghosts but of fleshy creative spirits—the human kind, the writerly kind, we women of Weymouth.
I’d grown accustomed to leaving certain doors ajar, others completely open. I left such-and-such curtains half open and unplugged certain nightlights. The coffee mugs went here. The cloth napkins belonged there. Yes, I’d grown leisurely in my use of this 9,000 square feet, spreading out hither and yon, sporting nothing but my birthday suit between bathroom and bedroom.
Not so any longer.
Enter the novelist (15 novels, to be exact) who teaches at a top tier MFA program. Enter her friend, the one with the ginger laugh and vintage bicycle. Enter Jacki, the retiree from the Piedmont who told me this morning about a story she’s writing: Her character, a black woman from North Carolina, like herself—though much younger—wonders where all the cotton she picked in her lifetime ever ended up.
Interestingly enough, our rhythms rarely overlap. I eat five small meals a day, workout a few hours at least once (sometimes twice) per day, and move from room to room as I work. A pulled ligament in my foot is preventing me from outdoor walks, but the local gym has a recumbent bike, so I get out and linger amongst Gold’s Gym’s macho men near Fort Bragg for a few hours, then head back into the silence of Weymouth among the pines. I’m not alone, but I’m still working without interruption. We all are. We all get it.
One of these nights, I suppose we’ll find time for wine on the veranda. One of these nights, too, I’m hoping someone will see a ghost. Last week, another writer (she stayed for a short time, but was a bright, jubilant gift of a friend delivered at just the right time) stayed in the Thomas Wolfe room. She woke suddenly in the middle of the night to the ghost of Tom Wolfe trying to get into bed with her. He seemed to be saying something with his movements…as though he was startled to fine someone else in his bed.
This is my bed, his ghost communicated silently to the shocked writer, What are you doing in my bed?
The writer called into the night: “Stop! Go away!”
Slowly, the figured hovered then dissipated.
Twelve more days at Weymouth…twelve more nights to see a ghost. Here’s hoping…

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