A Map to Where?

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A cup of moon hung above the Maverick writing studios last night, a faint outline of its whole self filling the crescent, a pale circle hovering.  The Gihon River is a long, broad ribbon of snow between its banks, the only water bubbling through at the falls that drop past the old mill, steaming in the frigid morning air.  Bushes along the road have long spikes of red branches, blushed with new sap, though spring seems far away here where I’m waking to morning temperatures well below zero.  Vases hold twigs throughout the Red Mill building, the tips breaking out green, flowers enough for March.

An image strikes me, turns into language in my mind, I need to write it down.  This has been happening to me for as long as I can remember.  It’s why I’ve come to Vermont Studio Center for the month of March, to try to organize some of what has come out of this compulsion over the past seven years.  I was here in the summer of 2007, putting together the manuscript of The Truth About Death.  There are two more books stewing around in my brain and I’m here to try to make a shape that can hold the words that might be in those books, to figure out what those words should be.

Yesterday, my first full day here, I managed to stay off the internet most of the day and began reading and trying to organize the memoir I first started writing in 2008.  I spent much of the morning talking myself out of abandoning the whole thing.  Today I finished reading what I’ve written so far of the memoir and completed the notes I hope will help me map the book. But where will that map lead?  And do I want to go there?

Today at lunch I talked to other writers and artists who are also just beginning their months here, and found lots of encouragement to keep muddling along, to give myself time to get used to giving myself time.  I’ve given myself four weeks here to write.  Four weeks!  No wonder I’m terrified.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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2 Responses to A Map to Where?

  1. Jasmine says:

    Four weeks is a long commitment and a lot of work, but surely a gift to yourself as well. Enjoy it. You’ve always been an inspiring woman in my life. I’d love to read your memoir.

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