I miss the people, of course. That is a given. The co-workers. The boss. (I’m still married to him, but he works for The Man now, and l can’t go with him.)

I especially miss the ones we served in our little country medical clinic.

Less obvious things are missing, too. Like the paycheck. And the telephone. I find it so difficult to do business on a cell phone. I did miss the copier. (Scandalous thought!) But my patron just bought me a tiny, new laserjet printer that copies like a boss. I’m so happy about that machine. I think I’ll name it.

The first time I realized how deeply this problem went, I was staying with my mother in the hospital after her small stroke. (She is doing well; thanks for asking.) One morning, I went to the dining room just as all the administrators and assistants were clocking in. Instead of being grateful that I could spend the night with my mom, I felt this sudden pang. I wanted to go to work. I wanted the structure of an office job. I wanted the to-do list, and the supply closet, and the security of Heather, Leslie, Anna, Lenna, Aimee, and Erika working in the next room in case I felt a sudden urge to process my life out loud.

As I mentioned, I am one of the few blessed artists in the world who has an actual patron. A person who believes so completely in my writing that he goes to work every day and supplies me with things like pencil and paper, computer and printer. Food, clothes, a home. And freedom. Freedom to think, to dream, to write, to doodle. To sit with my mom. I wish everyone had such a patron, the way Michaelangelo had the Medici’s. (Mine loves me extravagantly. I don’t think Michaelangelo had that.)

So, I solved most of the problem. I set up a little office in our Spare-Oom. It lacks a few things, like a good chair, but it has given me the structure that I craved. Now, I don’t get distracted by household projects when I look up from editing a paragraph. And, fortunately, I’m only a few minutes away from lunch with my friends. It would appear that I now have the best of all worlds.  And, no excuses for failing to finish my next novel on time.