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.
But remember my post(s) below about “Never Say Never?” How it bites you on your ass? Yeah.
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.
23 thoughts on “When you said “never will I leave this place/ideal/way of life” . . . and then you do”
I hope you find a home there, and I am sure you will make one, wherever you live. You carry your atmosphere with you, and I think it will be good for Texas when you start spreading it around some.
what a wonderful comment :)
Beautifully said, Kat. I have read all your books and now have an empty place longing for more of your mountain characters. I wish you happiness in your new home. May you come to love it enough to create a few Texas characters we can’t live without.
Thank you, Marilyn – made me happy
Texas is so big, it has a way of helping you find your own place. Best of luck in all your new adventures and congrats on the continued book success.
Thank you, Stacy – and yes, it is so very vast here!
I understand how leaving a special place leaves a whole in your heart. But, yes, you will find success in all things. I’ve done it twice now – left my Delaware home for Albuquerque, and I found my way. Then I left Albuquerque for OMG North Dakota, and I have found my place here. I have family (my 4 #1s), a comfortable roof over my head, and friends who make me laugh. I am suddenly missing my Delaware home and am kicking around the idea of going back there next summer. But, my home is where my son, DIL, and grandkids are. All else comes, eventually.
My father had a restless heart and I think deep inside I do, too . . . .
I have loved following your journey and whole heartedly agree about “Never say Never.” Here I am back in Florida–the place I swore I would never live again in a community of a zillion homes far from my country home I was building. There is a good reason you are where you are and I know and bet it will come out in your writing. My husband likes to say, “Shift happens.” Praying all good from this shift in your life!
I love that! Shift happens!
Yes, it was high time I get a little messy in life.
I’m reading this with tears in my eyes for you. I have no words, so I’m sending you a hug.
thank you for the hug – much needed
Yes, I agree, some holes in our hearts for those things, and people, we once held dear will forever be that–voids that will never be filled. I’ve learned that I am foolish when I try to fill them with other things instead of accepting them, coming to terms with them, and ultimately appreciating them. A new “normal” comes in time, joy returns, and life moves forward. Still, in that quiet place within, we grieve our losses. Wishing you the very best in this major transition, Kat. xo
Yes – beautifully said, Linda.
Those holes are filled with memories, mostly, I would say.
I think life is like a stage play that’s always evolving. Sometimes the cast changes, or the set changes or the plot gets rewritten, but at it’s center is the same lead character, who also can change, but you’re always just you. I tend to forget that the only constant in life is change. It’s a hard thing to rediscover at times, I’ve found.
But, when a person you love dies, I think, if we’re still using the theater metaphor, it’s like a character who is just never replaced, and nor should that person be replaced. It’s just like you move on, eventually, and pay homage to that person who held a special place in your life until your own final act approaches.
and unlike in a Shakespeare play, the loved one will not come haunting you asking things of you – you only must stumble on the stage and hope for the best
You are a strong woman, and you will find your quiet again. The noise will feed your brain for when you are out of ideas for the next novel. Soak it up and a store it away. Hugs for a bright future. X
smiling – thank you, Glynis
HI Kat – so many challenges you’ve faced recently .. a sad day this: yet “shift happens” as Terri said .. so true – and often kicking us into shape in the process; your brother is being supportive and then you’ll meet many new people and find your solace and quietude … having a chance to look around and get a feel of the community – which will nurture you through to your next few decisions in life ..
All will be well and yes with hugs in your direction .. all the best – Hilary
It’s good to be around family – and they need me (I like to say I don’t need anyone, but then that would be inhuman *laugh*)
I saw Connie’s intro in the FB women’s group and had to visit. Happy to “meet” you! I have actually been to Maggie Valley (and Arlington) and know what a big move that had to be, on top of everything else. My girlfriend has a log house there, too, and she and fiance will move there full time in the spring, which means I’ll visit again. I hope your move brings you joy… I’ll be following along here and also will check out your books. Feel free to stop by my own website if you have time and connect with me on FB and G+.
Warm wishes to you
Hello Carol! Big move all right – lawdy! I miss the mountains but I try not to think about them too much. Now I’m thinking about them too much *laugh* dang, but then again, I don’t want ever to forget them.
Comments are closed.