No clock. My husband promised to call at 7:30 a.m., and that’s when the phone rang. No alarm clock, but I was already awake. I’ve made a list of what I forgot or what is missing in the studio that I want to have: the clock, a washcloth, Kleenex, a dishtowel, a wine opener and a sponge. I forgot tea, printer paper, a stapler, and envelopes and stamps. I brought a dictionary, but they furnish that. When you have your own residency, make a list.

After breakfast, I read a few poems by Adrienne Rich from 100 Essential Modern Poems by Women. Rich read in Santa Cruz this week, and many from Santa Clara County drove over to hear her. An excellent reading, I hear. Her poems are known for their technical mastery; when she won the Yale Younger Poets prize in the early fifties, that and her ability to keep the self out of her poetry interested the judges.. As her attitude and circumstances changed, the “I” returned, particularly in her love poems of the ‘70’s. The last poem in this set shows her political stance. I hope to read a poet or two a day while I’m at Montalvo..

What do those do who live in London or New York? I went home and raided the kitchen cupboards, the cabinets in the hall and my bureau drawers for missing items. Being from Saratoga is a huge help. I live only minutes away, probably the only artist in residence at Montalvo that has ever come from Saratoga. Now I’m back at the computer, ready to uncover some of those “golden words” I’m searching for.

Computer problems. I will call Mike, tech support for the residency.

Today is sunny and so bright in my studio. With windows on both sides, I have light. Darker at night. The best reading area is the bed or the desk. Good swivel lights.

Dinner tonight was another revelation: cauliflower casserole, sautéed chanterelles from the grounds here, and arugula salad. No meat.

The chef buys everything organic and so fresh; I have never tasted good arugula before. And who would dream up a cauliflower casserole?

I admit I was a little nervous eating the mushrooms, but the rest of the residents assured me that they had had them before, and they were still alive. We had more than a lively conversation at dinner: global warming, religion. Hot topics, and everyone had an opinion and expressed it. We had a guest, a biology major at Stanford who seemed to know about the warming issue. We had opinions from all across the country, which made for a good discussion, particularly on the religious topic.

Dessert was kiwi fruit. I found the fruit slips easily from the rind with a spoon.



  1. Mary Lou, I loved your ‘Day Two’ at your Montalvo Residency. Looking forward to what comes next. Pushpa

  2. Kelly says:

    Yay! We can leave comments now. Looking forward to the rest of the residency details & photos. I remember thinking of you while you were working away…love this line: “I found the fruit slips easily from the rind with a spoon.” Kelly

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