Ah, all things must come to an end. Saturday, June 3 was my last day at The Lemon Tree House residency program. Spending two weeks in Tuscany to work on my writing was indeed a luxury and I made sure I took full advantage of every moment.
Pictures on social media might give the impression that I did a lot frolicking – in the sunshine, by the pool and at scenic locations throughout Italy. And I did! But that’s not all I did. I worked on my manuscript, specifically the more emotional and painful aspects of the narrative. I finished my first diverse, young reader’s book at the request of my agent and a children’s literature publisher (I hope to share more news on that soon. Fingers crossed!) I took naps every afternoon. I enjoyed moments of solitude. I spent many hours being quiet and still. The writing residency was everything I needed and more.
My phone was on silent for two weeks, a practice I’ve decided to continue during my writing/creative hours with a few exceptions. My body is in great shape because, well, you have to eat healthy and walk (a lot!) when those are your only options. My schedule is much more manageable after acknowledging and accepting that I just don’t have the bandwidth for all the projects I want to take on. The peace and happiness that I have is indescribable – and I’m determined to continue to feel this way.
As I said goodbye to my fellow Lemon Tree House creatives, I thought of the lyrics to Soul II Soul’s Back To Life. (Dating myself. I know, I know.) While I will miss Italy, it is exciting to return home with a profound sense of self and plans for my writing career. This is my life. This is my reality. And it’s my responsibility to own my choices and decisions to make my life the one I want to live. Best believe, I intend to do just that!