Did you hear me talking about you, Red Room? I'm at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Sweet Briar--where you and I first met, Red Room! Where you first gave me the "shelter" of supportive comments from all over the country, when I confided in you my angst about returning to the artist colony. That was three years ago! How is it possible!
And here I am in residency for three weeks, recommending to the writers at my table that they all sign on to Red Room as a way of connecting with other writers and wider audiences. Many of the young writers here have new books, and have no clue about how important it is to develop social networks outside of their immediate circles or academic contacts. I mention Red Room at least once a day here.
Which means I'm back--I've been much too slow about being in touch. Forgive me. I have been to Paris since we last spoke, to Auvillar, to Knoxville, And now I'm back on this bridge of words that leads to you, my friends.
In Auvillar, the elderly woman who hosted the gite where I was staying asked if I had brought my own towels. It's customary to provide one's own at these gites. "No," I apologized. She gave me a towel and said, "C'est un abri." "It's a shelter." She meant it was a transitional object until I could settle in with my own stuff.
"C'est un abri." It's a shelter, a bridge, a way to be at home in the world during this temporary stay we call a life. Red Room is "un abri," a shelter from the chaos of language that has not yet been worked, from the isolation that a writer may feel in a little studio in Virginia or a hotel room on the road in Oakland. Thanks for being there, Red Room!
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.