Finding Refuge

Some days you wake up thinking, What is the point of any of this? Why do I self-inflict all this work, all these expectations? Your writing feels stale, your tasks stretch before you like so much drudgery, your paperwork piles to the ceiling.

And you think: I will never, ever catch up. I will never move through the world without this exhaustion. I will never be able to fully focus on my writing the way I need to.

Then a note appears in your inbox from a woman you contacted months ago. You mailed her your application in slim hope of gaining entry to a selective writers’ retreat miles away. The first words in this email are “I am delighted to inform you…” You read the note again. And again.

And the whole sky can’t contain your gratitude.

By Frank Schulenburg, via Wikimedia Commons

Tomales Bay, which is overlooked by Mesa Refuge from its bluff. Photo by Frank Schulenburg, via Wikimedia Commons.

For two weeks in October, I will reside with two other writers at Mesa Refuge, a retreat for people exploring the intersections of nature, economics, and social equity.

It’s a precious gift—a chance to dive deep.

“The landscape of sky, marsh, and bay flowing to the sea helped concentrate my mind. I loved the quiet. I loved the wild garden overlooking the wetlands below and the hundreds of birds circling above. It is rare and wonderful to feel so quietly cared for—so completely supported and encouraged.”

—former resident Chris Desser

Some of the authors I admire most have found the solitude and focus here to create their transformative books: Michael Pollan. Terry Tempest Williams. Frances Moore Lappé. Natalie Goldberg.

These are writers whose work has changed my life. There are no words adequate to express how honored I am to gain a place in this residency program.

And what a thrill to get this tweet from an alumna today:

Already I feel renewed by a beneficent universe.

3 thoughts on “Finding Refuge

  1. Pingback: A Week in the Life, Irvington-style | Shawndra Miller

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