The Gift of a Month in Santa Fe

I’m back in Santa Fe and beginning a month-long fellowship at the Women’s International Study Center. It’s an honor–really a miracle–to have the gift of time and space to simply research, read and write for a month, with no obligation other than to give one program on my work, tentatively scheduled for mid-November at my favorite Santa Fe bookstore, Collected Works

The casita where I’m staying is around the corner from Acequia Madre House, the home of the Study Center, and the real-life historic adobe that was home to three generations of interesting and talented women–artists, businesswomen, preservationists–whose Santa Fe legacy began in the 1880s.

The three women of Acequia Madre House

Even though none of them lived in Santa Fe year-round, the three, Eva Scott Féneys (1849-1930), her daughter, Leonora Scott Muse Curtin (1879-1972), and her daughter, Eva’s granddaughter, Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo (1903-1999), were influential in the arts and cultural life of the city they adopted as their own. 

My bedroom at the casita

The casita where I’m staying is an adobe house bigger than my place in Salida (it’s got three bedrooms and two baths) that looks to have been built in the early 1900s, and has been well-kept up. The center has furnished it with everything a resident might need to be comfortable, down to books and a wifi network, dishes, and even art, including some by the three women. 

The living room (yup, that’s a working kiva fireplace!)

The kitchen, my favorite inside hang-out… 

I’m fortunate to be sharing the casita with one other fellow at the end of her month-long residence, Stanlie James, a feminist scholar of african-american studies and gender studies at Arizona State University, and the new Vice-provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement. She’s as warm and funny and smart and interesting as the picture suggests, and after 24 hours of sharing the casita, I feel blessed by her perspective and company.

Stanlie James

The third fellow, playwright, composer actress, and poet Deborah Magid will arrive sometime in the coming week, overlapping for a few days with Stanlie.

This heavenly gift of “time out” in a wonderfully comfortable setting to focus on just one project is thanks to both WISC and the Paloheimo Foundation. Huge gratitude to WISC and its Executive director, Laurel Savino, and Program Associate Jordan Young, for the opportunity!

So that’s where I am, and what I’ll be doing for the next four weeks. I’ve had a great first full day of my fellowship, including writing the first 500 words of a piece called “Imagine Being a Plant,” partly inspired by friend and extraordinary author Craig Childs‘ book, The Animal Dialogues. The essay will go into the book I’m here to work on, so it’s a great start. And I walked about five miles, exploring the neighborhood. 

Now it’s time for dinner (a ham and green chile croissant with a salad of baby organic greens–yum!) and then some reading before bed. Tomorrow I may spend some time in the little back yard, sketching fall leaves. I could get used to this life… 🙂

The sunny little backyard with an apricot tree just losing its leaves