I’m sitting in a closet right now typing this. Yeah, a closet. Because it feels quiet and contained and intimate. I will need this closet, I now know, very often, as I write my books, as I edit mine and other authors’ books, and maybe just when I need to hide myself in work and thought.
For ten years I lived in the cove at Killian Knob in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Right smack in the Smokies. One of the most beautiful places in the world. And, with some of the oldest, most ancient, mountains in the world — once as tall as those younger ones in the west but worn down by time’s winds and rains. It was quiet there, serene, and I could go weeks without seeing a soul. I was an aging Rapunzel in her tower, locked away, both ignoring and curious of the world outside of my cocoon but somehow unable to escape my self-imposed captivity. But that way of life served me well: I wrote five books and a novella, and many short stories, and many personal essays, and some really bad poetry, and took photograph after photograph of nature.
Yet, as the years went on, a restlessness was rising up, pushing against my chest, churning in my gut, filling my brain with wants and desires and needs. It was only when the pressure exploded and imploded and all kinds of plodedes that I knew I had to take action.
But in all my imaginings, I never imagined I’d be moving to Arlington, Texas. I have family here, yes. And they need me (and I them). But still. The flatlands? The people? The noise? The lights and sounds and crowds – oh dear.
Consider this: Arlington has about 400,000 people. Maggie Valley has about between 1000 and 1100 full time residents. The biggest city closest to Arlington, Dallas, has about 1.3 million, while the biggest city closest to Maggie Valley, Asheville, has about between 85,000 and 90,000 people. Oh.Dear.Lawd.
So here I sit in my closet — which is really my kind and supportive brother’s closet, which is on loan to me as his “resident guest” until I am on my feet and find my own place. What I took from my mountain log house easily fits into two rooms–or one and a half rooms. That includes boxes I stored for when I do find a place of my own. I left much behind–big pieces of my heart for one, and a husband I separated from for another, and the two do not entwine.
When someone we love dies, a piece of our heart is carved away that leaves a hole that will never ever be filled by anyone or anything–we can try to fill it with sex or drugs or rock and roll or things or alcohol or time or distance or pets or other people or other family or — etc — but it will never ever be filled; sorry to tell you this if you are trying to fill it, because it will not. It will remain a hole for the rest of the days you walk upon the earth. And really, that’s okay, for our loved ones deserve an unfilled space that is all theirs. Place can do this, too. Place can leave a hole in your heart that won’t be filled by all those things. And this is how I feel about my cove at Killian Knob. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled.
I will find happiness here. I will find Home. I will be with family who needs my help. I will meet friends. I will meet men who I will date. I will settle in with all these thousands and thousands of people here. But that hole will echo with the beauty and serenity and loneliness and isolation and ancient callings and my pet crow and my other critters and my chimes in the mountain winds and my walks in the deep woods and my creek singing and . . . all of it. That echo will follow me all the livings of my days until my livings are no longer. And as sad as that may feel, I’m glad that hole will be there, that it will never be filled.
So, here I am in my closet, while outside my world has changed and it is as if someone stepped upon an ant bed and there all these ants go scurrying hither and thither and beyond while I stand aside with my mouth gaped open.
A new life. A new journey. Endings. Beginnings. Never say never.
Now, for a bit of business while I’m thinking of it: thank you to readers and friends for sending The Lightning Charmer to several Number 1 spots on the best seller list at Amazon, including No 1 in Women’s Fiction (and No 1 in fantasy and fairy tale or something like that I can’t remember, and another one I can’t recall, and number 4 on another one – I should remember these things but I do not). As well, it went to No. 30 in the overall Top 100 best-sellers. I missed all this excitement as I was on the road moving. Appreciate you all.