I Almost Called This Post “I Spent The Night in a Haunted House and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next,” But I Didn’t (Call it that, that is)

July 2017–Disclaimer: I wrote this post last year. I’m not going to get to Weymouth this summer, and I miss it. Maybe this fall…

When I got home from Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities this year, there was no unclaimed pig cooker in the driveway. Rather disappointing after last year. Fortunately, my time at Weymouth as part of the Writers in Residence program provided not only quality writing time but some new experiences. This year I

Encountered gravity or ghost (twice). The Friday night before I left Weymouth all other writers had departed and I spent the night alone in the house. The tales of ghosts are a part of Weymouth lore. I don’t get too excited one way or the other because I can generally scare myself quite well without any help, and the house is close to 100 years old. So it creaks.

A lot.

But who among us wouldn’t at that age?

That night the Weymouth Center held a preview party for paintings to be auctioned at the next night’s gala, paintings themed around the history of Weymouth, which includes the founding of a fox hunt club.  The party ended before eight, and I had the house to myself.

I had just settled in for the night when something went thump downstairs. I did not spring “from my bed to see what was the matter.” It’s expressly against my Rules to Live By to unbolt a door and go out alone into a 9,000 square foot house at night after something bumps.

The next morning I went downstairs and found one of the paintings had fallen off the display. Perhaps gravity or perhaps that particular canvas was not the favorite of the house ghost. Gravity is my medium of choice, but whatever, both the painting and I survived unscathed.

My second encounter: I walked out the kitchen door and a pine cone hit me in the head. Gravity.

Saw a fox (twice).  With his tail straight out behind him, he ran across a side yard, down by the riding ring, and out of sight. Then a few minutes later, he ran back across the same yard and headed off into the longleaf pines. I don’t want to speak for the fox but consider the possibility that this was his victory lap. His kin outlasted the hounds.

Heard Matthew Olzmann read his amazing poetry, which reminded me of why I love words.  “Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czeslaw Milosz” and “Mountain Dew Commercial Disguised as a Love Poem” were two of my favorites.  The first is thought-provoking and poignant (and more). The second is funny and romantic (and more).

Enjoyed the beauty and magic Weymouth radiates. While not new, this experience is different every time I go. Always I meet interesting people. And for the first time, someone from my regular life, my friend (and awesome poet) Beth Copeland  was there for part of the week. She missed the ghosts gravity.

Frequently the writing goes well, and it did this year. I worked on the new book, Snap of the Match, and channeled a short story.

While the spirit of writers past and the writing spirit are pervasive, it is a very real group of hard working staff and volunteers that are the lifeblood of Weymouth. The Center’s calendar is full of events that celebrate and encourage the arts. Many volunteers keep the gardens and yards beautiful. Alex Klalo seems ever present and always helpful.

It was a wonderful experience, creaks and all!

 

 

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