At my stage of the game I am able to get good blocks of time to write and think at home, but some key element goes missing. I think that element is the time to dream. At Civitella, with the weight of daily cares and obligations lifted, I found myself in a blessed and rather adolescent intellectual space, a positive regression. As Walt Whitman had it, “I loafe and invite my soul/I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” Civitella gave me not only time to invite my soul, but time for my soul to accept the invitation, at a juncture where I’m trying to reinvent myself as an artist, some mysterious sort of crossroads having to do with age, with mourning, no direction apparent. In the weeks since I’ve been back in Maine, that direction is sorting itself out, and the threads of the sorting all seem to reach back to Umbria.