Life in a Victorian Mansion and other recent tales
I’m at the end of my second week at the Thurber House. While I have to admit that my expectations for being the writer-in-residence here this month, inaugurating the annual John E. Nance Nonfiction writing residency, were high to begin with, so far they have only been exceeded. I’ve been joking that they won’t be able to get rid of me at the end of the month, I’ll chain myself to the house in protest of ever having to leave this magical historic home, or Columbus, Ohio, for that matter.
For starters, the house is haunted. It has even appeared on that Ghost Hunters show. I don’t believe in ghosts, never have, but there is definitely something at least verging on paranormal amiss here. I found an apple in the middle of my living room floor, okay? After putting away all the apples in a bowl in the kitchen, nowhere near the living room. (Nor do you have to pass through the living room to get to the kitchen.) Also, one morning I was typing away on my book, the very lines I was writing began deleting themselves backward. I kid you not.
Besides the haunting, being here has been exceptionally productive. I set a goal of ten pages a day and so far have kept to it, though I’m taking a break today to go check out a capoeira class and bike around. The city of Columbus is a hidden gem–the cafes and shops of the Short North, the Wexner Center and Ohio State campus, and the historic homes and Discovery District downtown, the area where this house is open daily as a museum.
The staff is here until 5pm, and after that, I have the run of the place! I often find myself wandering the halls, marveling at whatever fortuitous power led me to the privilege of spending an entire month in the historic Victorian mansion once belonging to James Thurber and family.
So far, I’ve been interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch and Writers Talk which airs on Central Ohio’s NPR affiliate (will post a links when the pieces come out in a week or two), and dispensed some advice about finishing a novel to high school students who are participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ll also lead a workshop on Wednesday, October 24 at OSU.