This is a real place. In the house just above the dock where I took this photo, I had the pleasure of waking in the mornings at 8:00 a.m. — a time I wasn’t aware I preferred to wake. I ate cantaloupe and dark chocolate, dense Carolina bread and blueberries. These are things I wasn’t aware I enjoyed in the mornings and afternoons. But now I know. Because for three days I had a lake of my own.
I drove to Lake Lure, NC to attend a writer’s retreat. I wasn’t sure before I left what would happen if I woke up in the woods every day and endeavored to write. In times past, what I did was sit and look out the window with my mouth open. That’s what happens when I Ieave New York: I drool. But there was a schedule at the retreat — wake, write, read, meet — two times a day, for three days. And something happened when I was allowed to pay attention to my own rhythms: I wrote. I wrote new material. Something was there when I opened the door and invited my ideas to come inside.
I’ve always thought Virginia Woolf was onto something with A Room of One’s Own, though a $500 stipend these days would be useful only for purchasing staples to complement one’s pursuits like coffee, chocolate and booze. The fact is one should, at minimum, have a room of her own in which to work and read, but at best, she should have a lake of her own. And a house on Nowita Place in Venice, California in which to live and work and birth her big, juicy dreams while making homemade soap and walking her dogs on the canal.
And periodically, one should have an island of her own in the Pacific Northwest, which she visits annually in July and from where she is able to visit Darville’s Bookstore and go directly to the children’s section to gaze out the window at the Sound and decide everything comes down to that: the sea.
I took this picture on that exact island last year when life was a lot different, and made a promise to myself that every time I stumbled on the exact thing–the dream–I would take a picture of it. As long as I can see it, there will always be a chance I can touch it. It’s easy. I just have to press ahead.