My wife and I have moved to the Pioneer Valley. This evening marks our first full week here in New England, though we have already absconded for a couple of days to relax in the depths of Vermont. Our small dog Simon is bravely meeting each new wilderness challenge with aplomb (though he refused to do more than wet his paws at the river I swam in), and we have eaten well, made new friends, and are doing exactly what we dreamed of doing while drinking beer that night in an alley in Istanbul three months back.
And yet, and yet. Part of me feels more than simply adrift – it feels unsettled. I cast about for a reason why on the drive down from the farm in Vermont today, and realized that it comes in large part from my lack of writing. My lack of working on a project, of moving purposefully forward each day toward the completion of a novel.
So tonight I set my alarm for 6:30am, and planned to get up early to work on something completely new. Which is where I ran into a problem: I’m not in my own house, we are staying with an incredibly wonderful friend of Grace’s, and I am without a writing corner. So I scouted the house. I checked with our host as to her morning habits, and finally found the perfect nook. I’ll bring in our folding table and chair from the garage tomorrow morning and set it up next to the washer and drier in the basement. It’s a small space, harsh and industrial and surrounded by cinderblock walls, but it feels perfect.
Getting up early means going to sleep early, so I turned off the computer (not realizing I would soon turn it back on to write this post) and cast about for a book to read. I picked up book after book, but set them down, each in turn. Nothing felt right. Then I felt a strange yearning for Proust. To lose myself in his ocean of language, his refined sensibilities, his perfect metaphors and turns of phrase. I sliced open the first of my 75lb boxes of books (which I had mailed here to MA), and immediately found all 6 novels from Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. If I but believed in omens!
So here I am. About to turn off this laptop once more and lose myself in provincial France, as the young protagonist comes to terms with his burgeoning desire to be a writer, with his dependence on his mother, and his yearning for beauty and greatness. In about eight hours I’ll get up and make myself a mug of tea and set up my table in the basement and open Word and stare at the screen and write the first words of… something. We’ll see how it goes.
But one thing I know.
It feels damn good to be taking up the figurative pen once more.