Letter from the Director – November 2022

In Company

We just finished our third weekend retreat in a row. Whew! As tiring as hosting retreats can be, they’re also energizing. The retreaters who spend a weekend at RWC bring with them a unique light, a personal vitality that infuses into the atmosphere and adds to the overall verve of the colony. I’ve always believed that everyone who enters the farmhouse can feel a bit of the generous spirit of those who entered before them. That was true for me the first time I stepped through the kitchen doorway. 

I had been looking for a property to purchase for eight months. I had some specifications in mind (like private bathrooms for every bedroom!) but I didn’t have a solid idea of what might make the perfect colony for writers. I only knew I would know it when I found it. Imagine how frustrating that was for Kim, my real estate agent! She took me to properties all over middle Tennessee and I would say, “This is nice, but it doesn’t feel right.” She came to accept my “feel” for things, bless her, and didn’t try to reason it out too much!

When I walked into the kitchen at 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, I stood in silence for a few minutes. I said to Kim, “This is it.” Kim said to me, “Don’t you want to see the rest of it?” I said, “Yes, we can do that, but this is it.” As we toured the property, the “feeling” only increased. At the end of our tour, Kim said, “Yes, I feel it too. This is it.” One month later, the purchase of the property was final. That was in March 2018.

I say that to attempt to explain a part of  RWC that is hard to put into words. This place is bound by all the hearts and spirits that have ever been here. We are “in company” with the generous and kind-hearted people who lived and worked and dreamed and loved here, in the buildings, on this land. I cannot count the number of times writers enter through the kitchen door off the main deck and sigh because they sense the innate goodness that has come before them. Some even cry. Some say, “I feel like I’ve come home.” 

I believe in the goodness of the past and try to add a semblance of goodness to the present and future. It is not a chore. It is a blessing, an opportunity to weave some tiny thread of positivity through the fabric of a world that can be challenging. It gives back far more than it costs. 

So, on retreat weekends, when I’m busy and tired and ready to have a day off, I remind myself that this opportunity to serve will benefit the colony in the end. It adds to the layers of love and life that sustain us. There is a company of spirits that have come before and left their energy and beauty for us to receive completely for free. That’s something to be grateful for. We gladly pass that on to you!