Greetings from the Bird Room

Bird1I’m happy to say that I’ve talked to everyone staying here now at the Weymouth house (maybe, unless there is someone in hiding. And that’s entirely possible). I’m here with two other novelists and a playwright. It’s interesting to see the different patterns of how people write.

For the most part, I write in bed. Pillows propped up behind me. Coffee and water on the night stand nearby. I wake up, grab the laptop, check the social media rounds, and start writing. Wait – turn off the internet access – then start writing. I also need silence. I find music distracting. I’m also writing historical fiction – so perhaps music will only work if I have some Irish harps or Appalachian bluegrass (depending on which novel in progress I’m working on). I prefer silence.

I can’t write creatively at a desk. There’s something work-like about it. I can write lesson plans at a desk. I’ll sit at the windowdesk to answer email or send out review requests or write this blog, but that’s not where the story gets done. However, I’m finding this chair really comfortable, so I’ll try it today. Let’s see what happens.

Every writer here has a different place. One writer doesn’t like confined spaces.She works in the common room or outside on the porch (we had a gorgeous polar vortex day of about 80 degrees and low humidity). She’s at the desk with music playing. She has the complete and total ability to focus – she doesn’t seem distracted by those of us who wander into the kitchen for a coffee refill. Another is in her room, like me, and another finds a great long table in one of the open rooms in the mansion. She writes at night, she says. Two of us prefer to write our first drafts in longhand, two do not.


Angry birds

I do get distracted, even in this room. The windows look out onto the grounds, which are lovely. It’s a temptress window, a siren. Take a walk now…don’t wait until the end of the chapter…don’t wait for another thousand words…

There’s also the birds. Remnants of Christmas decorations, they somehow found their way into the Paul Green room.  I like the birds. They remind me of my grandmother who loved birds but they do tend to stare me down.

Stop looking out the window, say the birds. Write, edit, revise. Get back to work.

I Don’t Have to Talk to Anyone and Other Reasons I Like Residencies

Weymouth HouseWe share a wing in author James Boyd’s house, part of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Four or five writers are here now. I’m not sure of the numbers because few of us leave our rooms, except for occasional necessities. Every once in a while, two or more folks end up in the kitchen at the same time. They chat for a few minutes, then ghostly, they disappear into their rooms.



Writer At WorkI’ve seen Carolyn most often. We seem to keep the same coffee hours, the same late evening walking hours. We’ve agreed to do a reading of our work Thursday night. We’ll see if anyone else wants to join, but so far, I haven’t seen anyone else since my arrival. And you know what? It’s okay. I love not feeling like I have to be social. I say hello when I fill my coffee cup and then leave. Others (well, Carolyn)  do the same, usually with the preface, “I have to get back to work.” No rest for the writing weary.

I’m staying in the Paul Green room, a North Carolina writer and playwright. He might be most famous for The Lost Colony play, at least that’s how I know of him. Across the hall from me is the Thomas Wolfe room and the Max Perkins room. I was hoping for the F. Scott Fitzgerald room. Or even Sherwood Anderson, whose linked short stories were the cornerstone of my MFA craft thesis, but that’s okay, I’ll take Paul Green. I love The Lost Colony play and recommend to anyone who spends time in the Outer Banks.

Behind the Weymouth house is a state park with a few loop trails. The trails are sand. Lots of pines. It’s a nice walk in the evening, because during the day, it’s hot. Central Carolina hot. The grounds are filled with beautiful gardens and several lily ponds and fountains. It’s tempting to swim in one of them. But I won’t. I’d like to come back again.








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