I made it! I'm here at my residency at Fort Worden State Park. Matt and the kids came over with me yesterday to see where I'd be staying and play on the grounds. It was a perfect day with clear views of Mt. Baker to the north, Rainier to the south and the Olympics in front of us as we went by ferry, bridge, and country road out to this place. I've never been here before, but it's a lot like Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, where I've spent some time. It has 1940s-era Victorian military houses, a small Scottish brick castle, an old school house, a clapboard-sided and steepled country chapel, a brick playhouse, wide open lawns for military processions, and the Salish Sea everywhere you look. I feel like I'm living in a small naval town at the beginning of the 20th century and I imagine what a girl in this house might have thought when she looked out the window to the officer's mansions, or the gun batteries, or the bright wide sea.
Meanwhile, in reality I have a pretty bad cold, but I'm staying on-task, working away at my second novel and imagining what it's like to be at a girls' boarding school on the East Coast in the present day. I've been reading Rilke and a surprisingly great writing guide for fantasy literature I picked up at Half Price Books. It quotes Madeleine L'Engle, Ursula Le Guin, C.S. Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper, J.K. Rowling, and so many others. I feel like I have them all here with me, giving me advice and fussing over me like italian grandparents.
I have so much I want to accomplish while I'm here. So many fears rise to the surface too. Over and over again, all the greats say the same thing. The only way through is to write. And so I will.