May 19, 2009

So I'm now in Cornwall-on-Hudson, at The Grail, staying in this old beautiful farmhouse with my friends Massie and Marcie, who live here, and two cats and a dog. I've written about this place before but it's totally idyllic: my room looks out on green in every direction... and right this second I'm sitting on a bed in front of a huge window and right below me is a deer stopped between two trees, chomping on leaves. I'm part of an art collective that Massie and Marcie started -- I'm collaborating with this amazing artist Timi in Arizona, who's making a sculpture based on a story I'm writing about a girl with a compass for a heart (the theme of the collective's first show, which will be held here on these grounds on June 27 and then stay up through the summer, is "compass") -- and spent a big chunk of the weekend helping them clean out and wash and whitewash a huge old garden shed that will be used as an art gallery. To get to the shed you walk from this house down a bright green path lined by swishing tall grass, and there are other structures here.. a cottage where work is done, another house where other women live, an old mansion that gets rented out, a hermitage for people to come to reflect in.. There are 45 acres in all, lots of woods, some ruins, etc. -- and the art show will be spread among the grounds.. -- and down the street a mile or so is the Hudson River. Anyway, I'm here to finish my mermaid book, which is due at the end of July, since this is the most peaceful place I know and the best place to write that I've found. The other night I holed up in the cottage for hours and wrote while it stormed outside and it was totally perfect. As perfect as writing can be, anyway.

I haven't had time tho to write about the last week or so... starting with the lovely lovely afternoon I spent at the home of Ms Trillian Stars and Mr Kyle Cassidy, now newlyweds!, who hosted a lovely reading/music salon in their gorgeous old house in West Philadelphia. I wish all readings could be like that: everyone talked and milled around and ate scones (made by Trillian's mama!) and drank wine and then everyone sat down and I read from my mermaid book, and then people asked questions and were talking and I ended up reading from Godmother and Rain Village as well, and THEN after a break, Nicki Jaine sat down with her guitar and played us cabaret songs, mostly ones she's written with a couple Marlene Dietrich songs thrown in, and that girl is all lithe and sweet and elegant and then she starts singing and this voice that comes out, this deep rich crazy dark soulful Dietrich-y Marianne Faithful-y voice you wouldn't even think could fit in that body, and it's astonishing, and then the song ends and she transforms back and is all light. She's really wonderful. PLUS it turns out has some good friends in Berlin -- including a girl who writes vampire novels -- to introduce me to for when I'm there this fall. Anyway, Trillian and Kyle are amazing hosts and I hope to write many books and read from all of them at they house!

Plus Kyle takes gorgeous photos wherever he is. Look!

And me, Trillian, and Nicki:

Kyle also, by the way, took my author photo:

Anyway, so after hanging out in Philadelphia for a night and day and seeing a bunch of friends, I flew down to Texas to the home of Ms. Kathy Patrick, Pulpwood Queen Extraordinaire and owner of the only book store/hair salon in the country (which is one of the coolest places I've been to). But I have to write about that later! In the mean time, I will show you the hairdo she gave me for the Charm Night Out event I went to with her and a few other authors (Lauretta Hannon, Carol Lay, and Marian Henley, all awesome) in Nacogdoches, Texas:

That is right. She plucked a fairy from a Christmas tree and done pinned it in my hair.

I was in Texas!

The end.