Life at the Guild: First Impressions


I sit here at an empty desk in the glass studio of the Grunewald Guild, the wall mounted heater fan humming loudly, as I listen to classical music through headphones. The sound of the ticking clock remains faintly discernible while my feet feel desirous of ‘little hotties’ or that long lost pair of down slippers my mom bought me for Christmas some years ago. How strange it is to be here, finally, after at least 500 days of anticipating a transition.

It’s Friday at 9:45am.  Back home, I’d have been at work for nearly three hours already, talked to upwards of ten patients. Here, I have an obligation at 1pm; we’ll be cleaning up the ‘pot shop’ (their clever name for the pottery studio). Beyond that, the day is free. Free. And purposeful.

I didn’t have any idea what this kind of freedom would feel like. In daily life, most of my time is structured. And, though I’ve known less structured seasons, those seasons have often held a great deal of overwhelm, like a towering wave that breaks right where I’m standing and tosses me around like a rag doll. But this–the spaciousness of time, coupled with the intention to write alongside other artists, in community–carries a wholly other sense of freedom.  How did I get so lucky?

The unknown, with its wondrous sense of dread and excitement, is not as daunting as I feared it might be. The next four and a half weeks here in Plain, WA will be better than fine, it seems, as I stare out the window and realize I am truly free.


Day One

is done. the hunt
for studio space complete.
the commercial coffee maker functioning
after a first failed attempt–
the solution? just add more water.

little writing accomplished; still
less reading, but time together
tidying the pottery studio known
here as the ‘pot shop’
(the solution to release clay
from all manner of surfaces?
just add more water);
a group walk to town for bottles of wine
with Mama, the resident pup;
returning to linger in the kitchen
sipping said wine until dinner’s
ready and the directors join
for a glass of wine despite their
long trek from Texas.

there is, to me, no substitution
for life together. “We, too, are animals
after all,” my fellow artist in residence
said today, speaking of the things her dear
cat taught her. “We need companionship, too.”
indeed.  this, my dog taught me, also.
but, how much easier to bless
need in the other, even a cat,
than our own blessed need for each other.

and so, after day one, the presence
of the Guild–and our presence here–
is clear: to become creators and cultivators,
stewards and sowers of beauty through
our ever-present existence of need.

One thought on “Life at the Guild: First Impressions

  1. Reading this, I feel as though I’ve stepped into your world for just a moment: isn’t that the goal of a writer? I feel the chill through the old window, contrasting with the warmth of the nearby heater. Smell the wood of the cabin. Hear the sound of your feet shuffling under your desk. Gain a sense of that peace that I’ve only ever found when I’m removed from the city to spend a precious day or two in the mountains, freed for a time of all responsibility and worry. Freed to be completely me.

    For you, my eyes welled with tears while yet a smile brimmed across my face as I read your words. I cannot say why…

    Peace to you.


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