I have the great fortune to be a Fellow at the VCCA for twelve days at the beginning of November. This is only 14 miles from Randolph College, my alma mater, but I’ve never been to the VCCA. So, I’m particularly happy to be back in Virginia, surrounded by amazing autumn foliage, expressly for dedicated writing time.
Perhaps it is because I laid the foundations of my writing career in this very setting – the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains – but it is both familiar and sweet to be sitting out in the morning sunlight with my laptop (fortunately, not the same laptop,) breathing fresh mountain air and the smells of dry, sun-baked grass.
The colours here astonish me. I’ve just come from Bath, that oat-biscuit-coloured city of seamless beauty. But to drive through fall leaves in every colour of the spice cupboard – paprika, saffron, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon – brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges – makes me feel at home. Even the birds are bright: when I first drove up the winding road towards the VCCA, the flash of a red cardinal, and, moments later, a clamorous blue jay, startled me. Everything is bright, even the browns, so it is fitting that I’m here to work on a writing project that has to do with colours.