2013: One week a month in Provincetown. Space is opening all around me. I plan ahead, run the dates by Cal, and start booking flights. In January, I stay at The Watermark Inn. It’s closed. But I’ve stayed here before and it’s Provincetown. So just me in an entire inn. At first it’s a little spooky and then I love the darkness and the sound of nothing but wind and waves. I start a new novel. Blank pages everywhere. February is AWP in Boston and my last writing group in Provincetown. Even the universe is trying to help. I visit Jack, who’s living and working in LA. A week later, at the beginning of March, while Kathleen and her family are visiting, Jack calls to say his stomach hurts. Within hours I’m headed back to California–he’s having an emergency appendectomy. Kathleen is pregnant again. For my birthday, Cal comes to Provincetown for the first time–and he likes it too. Pam asks me to be on the board of the new nonprofit she’s creating with Karen Nelson–Writing by Writers. It feels like progress to be on the other side of a writing workshop. In May, the Days Cottages at the top of this blog, which are just outside Provincetown in Truro, open back up. I drag a mattress from one of the adorable tiny bedrooms into the den and plop it on top of the pull-out sofa so I can sleep looking at the water and the Pilgrim Monument. Cal and I go to Canyon Ranch–his 1st visit, my 14th. All my writing efforts pour into this new novel. No stories or essays. Very few blog posts. I start reading a Shakespeare play a month, beginning with Henry the IV, Part One, thought to be his first. Everybody comes home for a visit in July. Before Davidson starts back, I take Sam and his girlfriend to the beach. Lily is born in August, and just like I did with Mack, I spend a week helping Kathleen–doing one of my favorite things–getting up with the tiny baby in the middle of the night. The first Writing by Writers workshop takes place in October at Tomales Bay in California, and over the Golden Gate Bridge I drive again. On the way home I add a visit to Jack. Cal and I visit Sam in North Carolina and Bobby and Claire in Alabama. I’m now on some drug to prevent migraines, but when I head to Vermont to be on a panel–Building Communities of Readers and Writers–at the Brattleboro Literary Festival, there’s no doubt the drug is making me crazy. I hand the car keys to Pam and call the doctor, who tells me to stop taking it. My mother turns 80, and I fly to Sarasota for her birthday–taking 80 candy bars (each one numbered). Everybody comes home for Christmas. 35 books this year with the highlights being Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and Robin Black’s Life Drawing–each one short but sweet. My agent sends my third novel (no one except for me likes my second) to 11 editors, and some love it but no one enough. I’m spending more time helping my parents. By way of Spotify, not albums or CDs–I listen to Motopony’s King of Diamonds, Fleet Foxes’ Montezuma, Mumford & Sons’ Winter Winds. And a new thing to count–80 days in Provincetown.
She sees that she has before her an important task: to understand that all the things that happened in her life happened to her. That she is the same person who was born, was a child, a girl, a young woman, and now she is old. That there is some line running through her body like a wick.
Mary Gordon, The Rest of Life