I’m in Idaho, in a big house made of logs. The house is next to a river that’s flat and slow and glitters in the sunshine. On both sides of the river are low brown mountains, treeless but for their very tops, and still partly crusted in white. The land around the house is a network of fences and gates made of wire and worn-smooth pieces of wood. The gates keep in the horse, a fat pony with white spots, the chickens, ducks, and emus. The emus look sort of like Dr. Suess hedges and sort of like dinosaurs. They have drums in their bodies and they beat the drums at sun-up. DOOK. DOOK. DOOK.
We sleep in the attic of the house. It’s big and open and full of air and light. The sun comes out almost every day, and it’s blinding Idaho sunshine, with not a tree or leaf to filter through anywhere, and it hits your eyeballs 100 proof, and you can’t hardly see, and it warms you all over and chases out the dusty dark corners of your heart. And the animals run around, happy, and the river flows, and you can see all the way to eternity, at the very tops of the mountains, and if you walk up in them on the muddy road along the creek you can see valleys after valleys after valleys, and deer, with their black triangle ears and white tail-tips, watching you.
My work space is in an aluminum trailer that sits in the yard. I’ve got a table in there, and a space heater, and a good chair that I brought from Portland, and a jug of water. The emus come and peck at the windows and latches while I work, and the sun filters in, and there’s a bed in back full of pillows for when I take breaks, and work my way through the Little House On The Prairie books, one after the other. I’m trying to write for four hours a day, and it’s hard. It’s so hard it makes my brain hurt, and afterwards, even if I can’t do four hours and only manage two, afterwards I sit at the scrabble table we’ve set up in the attic (it’s next to the puzzle table, where C is putting together a puzzle of horses galloping through snow and birch trees) and I can’t even think of words, anymore, my brain is so tired. But it’s also growing strong, I imagine, like an ox, and one day I’ll cut through twenty-hour writing weeks like they’re nothing, and revisions too, and all of it will seem easy, and natural, like riding my bike.
Dear reader! Thank you for helping me get here. I want this month to feel like three months, I want it to feel like a year. I’ve been taking nice pictures and I’ll post those, soon, and write more. The sunny countryside is magical, albeit ultimately lonely, and the best I can hope for is to soak it up as much as possible, and work as much as I can, and somehow keep it all with me, when I have to go back to the city.