Day 2: Making Meaning
I never do this. Ever.
Except this time, somehow…I knew.
I knew that when the memoir class booked full to 16 with a waiting list, that in order to teach at my very best, I’d need to treat the week like a retreat myself, too. Rather than stay in the summer housing I’m already in–which is lovely and new and perfectly acceptable–I requested private housing, as per my contract as guest faculty. It would only be for one week, and the thought of “moving” again almost did me in…But:
Welcome to the Maddy Cottage, newly renovated and so close to the lake, when you’re standing on the porch it looks like you’re right over the water. I had expected an old cabin, slightly off-kilter, with a soft mattress and maybe a mini-fridge. I’m not sure how I lucked into this one, but as soon as I unlocked the door a world of stress lifted off of me. Here would be the place I could focus, wholly, on whatever this week throws my way. Here would be the place I could listen to the waves lap against the shore, throw open the windows to the breezes, and laugh with the ever-cackling gulls.
[View from porch]
Of course, most of us–teacher and participants included–are spending the week in the classroom discussing the nitty-gritty skills of memoir, but coming “home” to this space each night already feels like a gift.
Such a gift, in fact, that it’s too much to have without sharing. Tonight, the participants who would like to come over and enjoy the porch and some after-dinner company, are invited to the Maddy Cottage. It feels a little surreal, being the one who does the inviting. I’m not famous. I don’t have a host of books under my name. But I’m making my way, and it’s opportunities like this that remind me I have worked hard to get where I am. I do have something to offer–from specific skills to conceptual analysis. And I am grateful for not only the opportunity to teach and live in a beautiful place, but for the good company to share it with as well.