Except for being husband and wife professors of English Literature, not brother and sister heirs to vast fortune, Tom and Pearl McHaney are the Leo and Gertrude Stein of the southeastern quadrant of the USA. Art and book collectors in their own right, they make it their business to know, encourage, and inspire everyone in their sphere of influence who has ever put hand to pen, paintbrush, golf club, or garden hoe. Both are fountains of literary knowledge, as well as writers themselves. I happen to be lucky enough to live on their street, which puts me in close proximity to their epicenter. They don't know it yet, but one day soon I plan to request permission to take my hour of backyard spectatorship in one of Tom's outdoor garden rooms, and another hour in Pearl's full basement office, which sports four long walls lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves so efficiently organized that in a single instant, Pearl can get her hands on any book you suggest. To be in her office is to be in the company of the world's great writers. To be in the house of McHaney is to cross the paths of vast numbers of world travelers, artists, authors, actors, students, and literary personalities who have been the recipients of Pearl and Tom's gracious hospitality.
Back to our week on Ocean Isle. Via an accommodating seaside house, all the guests of the McHaneys spent the days engaged in our respective pursuits, rejoining each other's company for happy hour and dinner. The McHaneys provided for me a private "writing room" on the lower level of the house, where I felt like Virginia Woolf, ensconced in a room of my own. There, I was able to polish off two more chapters of my current manuscript. In spite of myself, this little work of fiction is destined to get finished, one writing retreat at a time. Thank you, Pearl and Tom! dkm
|L to R: Tom, Pearl, Moe|
|L to R: Emily, Pearl, Tom|
|View from a room of my own|