I just spent four days in Saratoga at the World Fantasy Convention. One afternoon I snuck away with two artists (Donato and Alan Beck) to paint in the gardens at Yaddo, the famous artists' retreat that I hope, one day, to attend as a poet.
The gardens were winter ready, rose bushes clipped and covered with straw, fountains drained, and fragile bushes wrapped in wire mesh. Workers in the distance were busy with terraces. The sun came out and lit the fall golds and the little red berries in the bushes, the last pink roses, and off in the distance the imposing main house loomed--stone--from the crest of the hill.
But it was cold. I was painting with gloves on. First I took out my program from the conference and sat on that. The marble steps still radiated chill into my posterior. Rummaging in my purse there was only one other choice--I sat on my poetry book. I carry two copies around always in hopes that someone will stop me and say "hey, could I buy that copy of The Elephant House off of you?"
Then I just had to laugh, here I was at Yaddo--sitting on my own book. Brooding really. So I sat there laughing to myself. Then I look up and some inmates of the big house are walking in the garden. Oh God, I thought, did they see me laughing to myself, will they think I'm nuts? My second though was, of course not, I blend in just fine, this is an artist's enclave. I'm sure there are plenty of folks here that liken themselves to hens.