A Writer’s Summer at the Ranney Ranch

By Sean McCoy
Summer 2018 writer-in-residence at Ranney Ranch

Tarantulas are crossing the highway. The grass has begun to cure. I’m sitting on the porch of the Sowell House, as I often have this summer, watching the clouds above the mesa and wishing to extend my stay.

Maybe it’s this scenery, or perhaps the solitude or altitude or open space — whichever reason or combination inspired my season’s writing, I’m grateful to the Ranney family for the opportunity, and for a house so well furnished, with a good desk and shelves full of books.

I met Nancy a year ago when I stopped to visit on my way to a job at a nearby ranch. Since then we stayed in touch, and when I told her I was looking for a place to write, she invited me to come for the summer. It’s been the best of both my worlds: I’ve had time and resources to work, as well as necessary respite from the page — the latter as an extra hand during busy days on the ranch.

Melvin, the manager, is the friendliest of neighbors. His dogs are my most frequent and affectionate visitors. The town of Corona is small and welcoming and wonderfully distant from almost everything. I enjoy the long drives in search of groceries and supplies, letting stories percolate as I cross the plains or wend my way around the mountains, past another wide arroyo, attempting to remember sentences I might write down if I ever met a stoplight.

Needless to say, the summer was better than imagined. I haven’t left yet, but already I hope to visit soon.

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