The last week of Ragdale was sublime and busy, and I drank in every nuance.
Back in Chicago, now…with a day of stunned re-acclimating behind me, and this morning’s realization that there is a staggering amount of work to accomplish by the end of the month (twelve days!), not the least of which is making this place remotely habitable to begin with. Monday, I will be a guest artist in two classes at an affluent high school; it’s been 15 years since I dealt with people of that age, but I’m just giving two talks, not actively teaching. There is a piece to be finished and delivered (I got a special dispensation to delay its delivery till after Ragdale), PR for an upcoming show, three quite serious meetings, and deadlines for a number of applications for several different things. Then, hopefully, retrieving the beater after making room for it. So I’d best get at it all.
I think I could easily have kept up the round of residencies for, oh, a year or two. I’m grateful to have had these, though: each was perfect, and their sequence was vital to me at this time in my life. I felt absolutely supported by each, and finishing at Ragdale was beyond perfection. Ragdale is my touchstone place, renewing me in essential ways, even when I don’t know what it is that I need to renew; it has consistently revealed precisely what I need to see, supporting me in ways that I cannot ever fully describe.
And I did keep a residency-ending consolation prize for myself: Audrey’s new novel. The British version arrived at Ragdale on my birthday (with a lovely inscription, too). Though it was extremely difficult to do, I succeeded in not beginning to read it till last night. It will be my nightly reward for slogging through the chaos with its underlying layers of dog fur and dust, and the to-do list for a bit.
(L’shanah tova, y’all!)