Sense of Words


I must have let Jude out when I was half asleep because when the sunlight crept in this morning, I realized he was not here. I crawled out of bed and opened the cottage door to call him, and from around the corner of the pebble road he came running toward me, dripping wet, smelling like a Mississippi free-range heifer. I wiped him off and fed him, made tea, got dressed, and all the while Jude was (and is still) whimpering to be let out again to explore this wide open, green and hilly, stunning, non-Brooklyn place.

We are in Vermont. We arrived yesterday after a 4-hour road trip, in which Jude was surprisingly calm and well-behaved. (He fixed that by immediately biting our new neighbor upon arrival, so that’s that.)

I am here to write.

I had hoped to be in Paris at this time through a writing program I got into at the AUP, but had to be an adult about the situation and consider the following:

1) I am opening up a book store in Liberia.

2) Stores cost money to open.

3) Paris (and especially the kind of Parisian summer I’d want to have) will cost nearly as much as my opening a store.

4) I am a writer. I am not rich and Sallie Mae has already been promised my firstborn.

5) I will not be going to Paris this summer.

So then came Vermont. I can appreciate secluded areas, especially when optimal productivity is required for a goal. “Gbessa” is my goal. I’ve always loved Vermont. I visited quite a bit last year and attended the Wanderlust Festival in Stratton last month. My experiences here were always so peaceful, and I know I need a similar experience to accomplish my goal.  I made significant progress incorporating Janet’s edits last fall, but went through an unexpected personal setback that left me unable to make sense of words for a long time. Too long. I expect that, though it was difficult, it, like so many other seasons of my life, was a deliberate act of God. “Gbessa” is the novel I have been working on and working again and working again for almost 5 years–wanting it to be just right, wanting to make polyphony of my words. I expect the recent 8 months away from this piece to heal and to make sense of the world around me, for myself, and not through the eyes of others, were a necessary part of my artistic journey. But right now, I am ready. The birds are gossiping, the grass is high outside this country window, and Jude is so loud and distracting that I’m anxious for what adventures–both physical and on the page–my upcoming tomorrows will bring.

Bear with me.

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