I dreamt I was attending a writing residency in a stately, ancient house on a hill. As I walked the grounds to absorb the beauty, I kept thinking, Everyone says writing is so hard and discourages it, but look where it’s taken me.
When I woke, I thought of the real places I might never have visited had it not been for my writing. And so I made a list. My writing, reading, or writing research has taken me:
To a residency hosted at a health spa in the middle of the country, where I received a free massage, soaked in the hot tub every day after writing, and rode a bike to a pumpkin patch.
To a workshop on the west coast, where I drank champagne in an amphitheater during readings and was reunited with a dear friend.
To another workshop on a mountain, where I tried and failed to see a moose in the middle of the night.
To an island of dismembered dolls.
To a gemstone show for research.
To an observatory high on a mountain on the coldest desert night of my life.
To Sacramento, where I watched an actor read one of my stories to an audience.
To a honeymoon hotel in Ohio Amish country in the off season, where I locked myself in a room alone for three days for a self-guided writing retreat.
To a residency located on the grounds of a sculpture park, where I took windy walks every day and finished a rewrite draft of my novel.
To the dark corner of a restaurant to meet a fortune teller in a turban.
To a beach along Lake Michigan, where I drank wine with writing friends and watched the lake glitter.
To a particular bench on Euclid Avenue.
To a film festival to watch a string of documentaries by a featured director.
To a pedestrian tunnel made to look like the night sky in the Mexico City subway system.
To the Special Collections department of a library so I could read a book about necrophilia for research.
To a gated Spiritualist community.
To a tiny witchcraft museum tucked away inside a record store in Cleveland.
To the echoing insides of an empty grain silo.
Again and again to a tiny island in Lake Erie.
But mostly to the past and to the future, to the unreal and the fantastic, to the created and the conjured. To the imagined made real.