So, in exactly one week, I'll be leaving for my seven day respite in British Columbia. As some of you might recall, I was awarded a one week respite grant from an amazing organization called Caregifted that was founded by the poet Heather McHugh, a winner of the MacArthur genius grant, among many other awards. I am completely and utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of this grant. My formidable imagination is silent, though, and while I am looking forward to this week away, an all-expenses paid trip to a part of the world utterly new to me, I almost don't know what to look forward to as I can't remember the last time I went away in such a manner for one week. In the summer of 1985, I traveled through Europe with two friends, and when they returned to the United States, I stayed on and traveled through France by myself for several weeks, wandering around those caves with the prehistoric drawings on them, sleeping in a tiny garrett in Normandy where I bought a very blue scarf and visiting a somewhat dicey city on the coast where I wandered into a museum and saw, for the first time, Odilon Redon's painting Le Silence. I ate by myself and drank by myself and wandered here and there by myself, and I don't remember ever feeling lonely. I do remember that there were some days I didn't speak a word to a soul other than the most basic conversation in my even more basic French. Won't you get lonely? my mother wondered when I told her about the Caregifted grant, and I said, emphatically, No!
I will not get lonely.
However, should you be in the area, I would love visitors. I would actually adore visitors. You can email me at elsophieATgmailDOTcom and tell me when you'd like to visit. If you time your visit right, and you come at the end of my stay, you could potentially pick me up in one of those refurbished Airstreams that we all fantasize about and we could just keep driving north.
JK, as Oliver says. (for the keep driving north part, not the visiting!)