I took my first night-walk last week--no flashlight and no company. I would not exaggerate my courage. The moon was a fertility god, stout against the black blanket of sky. In many places I could not so much see the road, as an almost shadow of the road--a strip more blueish than black. But when I looked up, I could see the tops of trees swaying in the night-wind, marking the borders. And so I walked most strange--learning the earth, by sighting the sky.
You must know by now that I am not completely alone out here, and by thus, more reason is furnished for the avoidance of any compliments to my fortitude. I am, in the main, surrounded by outcasts--blacks, Jews, gays, Tennesseans, Japanese, Chinese, Eastern Indians and Aztec Mexicanos--all united in the singular sense of never quite feeling at home. Yesterday, I walked for awhile with an outlaw poet and after ticking through the details of my lonesome night-walk, the strangeness of hearing so much and seeing nothing, she said, "You are afraid of a lot of things, aren't you?" And all I could do was nod my head.
I spend most of the day writing, and when I first arrived I was convinced that I needed to glue myself to the laptop for ten-hours and pound until my hands ached. I was so very afraid of coming home with nothing. But I've been humbled, and slowly I am learning how to not be in control because, so very often, you aren't. I don't think of word count, outlines, or plot points. I just sit there in my cabin in the woods, and I wait for the voices. And if they say, "Sleep," then I sleep. And if they say "Run" I do a few miles. And when they "Story," I sit at the lap-top, until I tire them out with questions.