When I was a teenager I read a book called Woodswoman by Anne LaBastille. This was in the late 1970’s and feminism was in the air. LaBastille’s Adirondack feminism meant building her own cabin on a remote lake and living there by herself. It meant supporting herself with her writing (five articles in National Geographic by the end of her life) and being a passionate environmentalist.
This October because of LaBastille I had the pleasure of living for two weeks at Twitchell Lake in the southwestern Adirondacks. The writing residency established with money from LaBastille’s estate allows six writers the luxury and freedom to write in the comfort of a spacious camp about a mile down the lake from LaBastille’s property (now forever wild state land). Nathalie Thill, director of the Adirondack Center for Writing, put together amazing meals and helped us feel at home.
In those two weeks I revised a short story, wrote a new one and made major changes on my novel for upper middle grade readers. I also went hiking or running or paddling every day, often with some of the other writers. One day we took a field trip to the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake where on a private tour we saw LaBastille’s cabin in its new home in a corner of a large hall. And on the mid-point of the residency we gave a reading for the summer residents of Twitchell Lake, all six of us nervous as we stood at an improvised podium.
It was heaven on earth for me. Every day I stood on the dock, looked out onto Twitchell Lake and thanked Anne LaBastille for her gift.