I’ve just come home from a week in one of my favorite places in the world: Damariscotta, Maine. The serenity, the fresh air, the occasional swim in the river—it’s all good for my soul and washes me clean of the daily pressures of work and life, at least for a little while.

When I’m in Maine, I write. I couldn’t do otherwise if I tried. This time, I finished the fourth rewrite of my next book and sent it to my agent. And then I immediately started thinking about what I should write next.

In Maine, to appease Betty, I generally sit in bed and write because it’s the only place she can curl up next to me. But sometimes I sit on the deck, or we go to Pemaquid Point and sit at a picnic table overlooking the spectacular rocks and surf. Sometimes I even take an electronic device down to the dock and write there, if the light isn’t too strong to see.

You’d think, with this idyllic setting, I’d be sad to come home to a house whose default state is chaos, and that reminds me every time I look around of all the things I have to do, the chores waiting for me inside and out. But no. I have a study that has seen me through many a draft, and that I occasionally clean up (although piles of papers and books currently litter just about every available space). I have an old IKEA chaise in a corner where I write with a view of the trees outside the front window, and where Betty curls up between my legs underneath the lap desk. It is simply my space, my place in the world.

I’m happy to be back home.