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 that long lost pair of down slippers my mom bought me for Christmas years ago.

It’s Friday at 9:45am.  Back home, I’d have been at work for nearly three hours already, worked with upwards of ten patients. Here, I have an obligation at 1pm; we’ll be cleaning up the ‘pot shop’ (the Guild’s 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.

The unknown, with its wondrous mix of dread and excitement, is not as daunting as I feared it might be.

Day One

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

little writing was accomplished;
still less reading, but time together
was much and rich.  this included:
tidying the pot shop (wherein
the solution to remove clay
from all manner of surfaces is:
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 red wine until dinner’s ready
and the directors join for a glass of wine
and conversation despite their long
trek back 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(er): 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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