I came into my Trélex Writers Desk Residency expecting some things, but I knew it would be even more challenging because of the issues I've had.

Residencies are scary. Rooming with strangers. Sharing everything. Only basic creature comforts. I came into my Trélex Writers Desk Residency expecting those things, but I knew it would be even more challenging because of the issues I’ve had. An inability to write and at times put together a cogent thought. Doubt feeding doubt feeding doubt….an avalanche of doubt. I walked into a tiny Swiss village a dried husk, convinced I’d leave unaltered.

My heart is fuller. My mind is still. I emerged from my residency cell unwilling to return to the noisy, screeching, clashing chords of my world.

Thoughts From My Last Day In Nyon

Time in any cell alters a psyche. I dreaded the quiet, afraid I’d hear absence, a void, a black hole of nothingness. But I relished the quiet, too. My world is too loud, and I’m complicit in the discordant cacophony. I surf the internet when I should be making words. Scroll through my newsfeed when I should be setting up my next trip. Read second-by-second news updates when I already know the world has become a soap opera: I can pick up a thread of the plot anytime because it creeps in its deluge of data. I may’ve slain a pack of hungry lions, but my blood pressure is lower than it’s been in three years. My heart is fuller. My mind is still. I emerged from my cell unwilling to return to the noisy, screeching, clashing chords of my world.

I walked along Lake Geneva's shore on my last night of residency and tried to weave a tapestry, intricate, tight, resolute.

I’m not commenting on what others choose to do with their time, only how my residency helped me understand my role in contributing to noise, to stress, to strife, to crap that doesn’t matter. I walked along Lake Geneva‘s shore on my last night and tried to weave a tapestry, intricate, tight, resolute. My life was permanently changed last year. I hope I use what remains to be a positive force in the world……and that means guarding the tapestry I wove like I spun it from gold and spangled it with precious stones. I can’t take care of anyone if I’m not taking care of myself.

I'm also grateful to the other residents, especially painter James Kao, who was there for my full three weeks of residency.

I’m grateful to Nina Rodin for giving me this opportunity. She opens her home to strangers and shares everything-cars and laundry and guests and garden bounty-with them. I’m in awe of her unbounded generosity. I’m also grateful to the other residents, especially painter James Kao, who was there for my full three weeks. I needed to meet a fellow American who’s grounded right now. Some of James’s zen rubbed off on me.

Leave your noisy cares in the water, and come away whole. It works for me, as long as I avoid my phone.

So I end with a challenge. For me. And for you, Dear Reader. Next time you walk by any body of water, be it a fountain, a puddle, a pool, or a lake, take off your shoes. Run through it. Splash. Plunge your feet in. Leave your noisy cares in the water, and come away whole. It works for me, as long as I avoid my phone. 🙂

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P.S. Wondering what I’m doing in Switzerland? I’m at The Trelex Residency in Maison Binet!

The book I’m working on now is a sequel to the others in the Nowhere Series so if you haven’t read the first two – go get them now!

Trelex is located on the edge of Jura Mountain Park, between St Cergue and Nyon. I spent about 15 minutes to tour Trelex on foot, and I saw it all!

I spent much of my first Switzerland residency day getting acquainted. With my accommodations. With the other residents. With the village of Trelex. Trelex is located on the edge of Jura Mountain Park, between St Cergue and Nyon. I spent about 15 minutes to tour Trelex on foot, and I saw it all!

hay field Trelex Switzerland

Turns out, I’ve been pronouncing Trelex wrong. It’s Tre-lay. The x is silent. So I’ve been telling everyone the wrong place!

Church in Trelex Switzerland

A small church commands a view of Lake Geneva. A school borders the roadway up the mountain to St Cergue. The train station has no building, only a sidewalk to hop on and off.

Tour Trelex Switzerland

The town has a boulangerie (Lord help me), a tiny market with eclectic opening hours, and one shop, ironically called Decoration Florence. Appropriate, yes? Since I grew up in a town called Florence.

boulangerie Decoration Florence in Trelex Switzerland

Trelex, Switzerland is part of Jura Vaudois Nature Park, a mountainous area north of Lake Geneva. Over 523km of hiking trails thread through the park. On some, one can find Alpine Gruyere cheese produced in tiny huts. Wednesday morning, I walked toward the neighboring village and found this field. Vistas like this one abound in the area.

landscape around trelex switzerland

To get to the supermarket, I can take the train into Nyon a fast four stops away. I can practice yoga in the village on Monday evenings and Thursday mornings. And of course, I can hike.

Thanks for taking the time to tour Trelex with me. Connect with me on social media through the icons at the top right of my website to see even more pictures from Trelex!

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To learn more about the Trelex Residency visit their website.

The book I’m working on now is a sequel to the others in the Nowhere Series so if you haven’t read the first two – go get them now!

Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

Welcome to my Trelex Writing Desk Residency! I’m staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland. I share kitchen and bath space with two other artists: Matthew, a painter from the U.K.; and James, a painter from Chicago.

Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

Sunroom Writing Area At Trelex Residency in Switzerland

Residencies are communal experiences. Little privacy beyond my room. Sharing a small fridge with two other people. Scheduling time for laundry with consideration for the other residents and a busy family.

I’m staying in a private residence.

Oh, I didn’t mention the family, did I? Nina and David have three children and a very inquisitive Jack Russell terrier named Talisker.

residency dog | Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

What residency would be complete without a resident dog? He’s already tried to run into the street when I left and invaded my room, where he made himself at home on the bed.

I’m writing on a Monday, my day to get settled. I trained from Lausanne with a change in Nyon and walked from the train station with three bags AND groceries. If I don’t lose a few pounds, I’ll be disappointed. I have a bicycle at my disposal, and I can use a family car if one is available, though I’m always fearful of driving abroad.

Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

View from my studio room

Jura Mountains make for an inspiring view to write. Here’s to the voices who speak!

Jura Mountains | Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

View from the sunroom

This is a residency – a lot of staring at screens and wrangling words in hot rooms with no air conditioning! Three chapters of I Am Number 13 revised/rewritten at the end of the first residency day. The voices already gobsmacked me once. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.

Welcome to my Trelex Residency! I'm staying in the guest room at Maison Binet, an eighty-year-old home in Trelex, Switzerland.

If the view of the Jura Mountains doesn’t inspire me, I’m doomed as a writer!!

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To learn more about the Trelex Residency visit their website.

The book I’m working on now is a sequel to the others in the Nowhere Series so if you haven’t read the first two – go get them now!