For the last two weeks I’ve been an artist in residence at Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois. If you haven’t applied, apply now. The most wonderful people are here to make sure your work comes first and that you don’t have to worry about anything.

I’ve been staying in the Barnhouse, in the rectangular-shaped Playroom with a circular window and stairs to a little square room with windows on all sides (a cupola). I lugged a small table up there and have been working like crazy to finish my novel–reading pages aloud and tossing them over the rail as I was done with them. One last quick read and off it goes.

We help ourselves to a stocked kitchen whenever it bests suits our schedule, and an amazing dinner is served family-style every night at 6:30.

I’ve taken breaks to walk–in the fifty acres of prairie and through town to Lake Michigan. (Of course, I took a break to watch the election–way to go, America!) I’ve met wonderful writers, musicians, visual artists. And I keep my windows open at night so I can hear the trains–their rumbles and whistles.

In each of the rooms is a stack of notebooks with messages from past residents written the night before departure–tomorrow night I’ll add my own.

*More photos of Ragdale from when I visited last March.