There’s a term I’ve learned out here on the Cape called “hiding.” I first heard it used when a young barista said, “Where have you been? Have you been hiding?” True, I had not been a frequent visitor lately, making coffee at home, using the internet at home, breakfasting at home. Four months later, I find myself using the term, as an apology for not being around, for not being in the community eye. The community eye is different from the public eye, for all the apparent reasons. The community eye is the one that cares, notices, is concerned, however momentarily. It is the eye, perhaps, that draws us out of hiding, helps relinquish ties to the solitary pleasures of reading, working, television to look up,reconnect.
It is easy for a year-rounder to hide in a resort town; one wants quiet. But these are the days of quiet, the February of the mildest of winters. It is easy to lose track of time, if not thoughts.
It is easy to lose sight of my studio. I have a separate studio space, 95 square feet, a tiny house all of its own, if it were outfitted with plumbing. It is full of art made by friends, postcards, as well as the ephemera of a writing life’s accumulation. To get another cup of coffee, I must walk back home, not a far distance. So perhaps a coffee machine, water, a mug is in order. At MacDowell, picnic baskets containing lunch are left outside a writer’s studio. I can’t remember if there were hotpots.
In any case, it’s easy enough to cover the short distance, enter the studio and write. I nearly wrote “work.” After all this time, there is still in me a sense of superfluousness about the verb, “write.” Yet there is nothing superfluous about books, reading, other writers’ work. But writing is work; chosing whether or not to begin a sentence with the word “but” is work. Nice work, though.