Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Good-bye, Columbus!

Alas, I'm not that writer-in-residence at Thurber House anymore. 
It's wonderful to be back with my family and friends in Brooklyn, 
but I miss a lot about Columbus, Ohio. 

I learned so much from teaching the young writers.  

The teenage writers were so articulate and passionate about their work. 
They made me feel smarter just by talking with them.

The younger writers were so enthusiastic and creative
--even on days when they weren't wearing costumes!

I felt part of a great community of writers who had spent time in Columbus. 
I was honored to autograph the wall after my appearance 
at Cover to Cover, an amazing independent bookstore. 

The city itself was so beautiful. 
I loved being able to walk or ride my bike along the Scioto River. 

This Topiary Park was just a few blocks from Thurber's House. 
Seeing the familiar from a new perspective inspired me 
whenever I walked among these figures based on 
Seurat's painting of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

I'm grateful to everyone at Thurber House 
for making me feel so welcome
 and always being willing to laugh with me. 
I miss everything about my month in Columbus.  

Did I mention the ice cream?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Looking for the ghost

Staying at the Thurber House has been very inspirational. Some of the stories James Thurber wrote were based on things that actually happened in this house—including “The Night The Ghost Got In.”  Many people who have worked here have had their own ghost encounter. Since my second novel is about a haunted house, I expected that I would too.

But I didn’t. I slept undisturbed. I heard no thumps. I felt no brush of cobwebs. Now as a writer I've learned that you can’t always wait for inspiration to pay you a visit. Sometimes you must be brave and go look for it. Especially if it is something disturbing.

So one night, that’s what I did.

I waited until dark. I turned off all the lights. With only the faint glow of my cell phone, I crept down the same stairs where James Thurber had heard the thumps almost a hundred years ago. All my senses were alert. But I didn’t see or feel anything. And then, as I turned the corner and stood upon the bottom step, I saw something glowing beneath the dining room floorboards.

I gasped and grabbed the newel post. I seemed to see the light pulse. Or maybe I was the one who was trembling.

When I leaned closer to take this photograph, I realized what it was. Someone had left the light on in the basement.

There was a logical explanation. And yet nothing could have persuaded me to go down there to turn off that light.