Those of you who have seen me around food know there’s a little weirdness. I obsess over vegetable representation, scrape pots and bowls with spatulas, freeze anything after four days, forage for crunchy bites, and never miss a meal. Must have starved in another lifetime.

Then something even weirder happened at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, where I’ve been given a generous residency to work on my book. You might think I’d be concerned about salty vegetables, enough protein at breakfast, or what kind of oil is in the plastic bottle. Nope.

I almost missed the mid-day main meal—twice.

The second time I arrived at 12:25, or was it 12:20….Sister Rose-Marie, my acting Den Mother, kindly said, “You know we start at noon…right?” Both days, I was lucky there was anything left or it hadn’t been whisked away.

I started setting alarms. For everything. That second day, I set one for 9:00 pm to tell me to go to bed. On the third day at the 12:00 alarm, I actually felt disoriented. Then realized, This is what Focus feels like.

Now, I’m not a complete dummy. I get up a LOT and walk through the quiet, quiet 4th floor flapping my arms and jumping. I trot over to the kitchenette and make tea, a lot. I tromp up the path into the woods every late afternoon. I conceded that 9:00 pm was killing my evening ramp down. I’ve joined the clever sisters to play tile games some evenings, which is a hoot, and seems to clear some muck out of my Focus Brain.

I figure my brain is reserving its energy for the object of focus, so everything else has a little…weirdness. I’ve started to slightly dread meals. I am able to hold a conversation, thankfully, because the sisters are genuinely cool people. The resident dessert fairy has delivered pudding and cookies on her wheeled stroller, up the elevator and into my “office.” She wrangled me to make “Heavenly Hash” last night, heaven help us all.

In default life do you also long for time to be focused, or to do the thing your heart desires? I am actually LOVING being in these days of writing, even with dinner disorientation and dread. I figure it’ll sort itself out when I depart, with or without the Focus Brain.