Poetry, Wordsworth said, is emotion recollected in tranquility.
For a definition of "tranquility," see the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.
Home to the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame and home base for the North Carolina Poetry Society, Weymouth Center has a busy calendar of chamber music, garden events, and lectures. Those occupy the ground floor and the surrounding terraces and gardens.
But for a writer, Weymouth is upstairs. The second floor of the historic home - actually two homes joined together, plus - has several rooms for writers to just write. Nothing else. Just write.
I joined the elect earlier this month, when I spent five days at the Southern Pines center. North Carolina writers have completed more than 600 residencies there - if all were as productive as mine, then we have Weymouth to thank for many, many books.
I sat at my desk in the Paul Green room, overlooking the gardens with their bare architectural trees and winter-blooming camellias, and fell back into the novel that's been simmering, simmering, simmering. I found my characters still talking, though like half-wild cats, they had to be enticed back to full contact.
The Weymouth Center is a sort of blessed desert island where you have the necessities of life but none of the encumbrances. Can't believe it took me this long to find it!
Thank you, Hope and Alex, who made the stay so pleasant.
Thanks to the congenial folks of Southern Pines.
And a special salute to the train whistle at 7, not a wake-up call but a call to action....to the word.