The Mae House!
A Very Gentle Launch
In the summer of 2017 I decided to move from our one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom apartment around the corner. You may have read about the depths of this choice in one of my previous letters. Back then, I knew I couldn’t still live with landlords above me while reimagining my family. I also knew a move would exponentially raise my overhead. I couldn’t shake the desire, although there were little prospects that allowed me to believe I would be taken care of if I did. I hadn’t yet sold Woman Of Color, and some months, money was so little, I couldn’t imagine paying a single bill. But I knew that I had to close one door (many doors) to allow for another (that single-handedly changed the course of my life).
Around the same time, I started to believe in another set of moving parts. Spirituality? Womanhood? Openness? I’m not quite sure what it was, but I started to believe in a path that I couldn’t yet see. A path that meant I only could rely on taking a huge leap, in hopes that the net would catch me (and my children). Since then, every move that I’ve made has been a series of leaps, relying on the deeply buried net, hardly ever truly clear. The net I had been leaning on was made by generations of women in my family. During the last few years of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been working on weaving that net too. The one I was creating was larger, taut, tied together by strange leaps of faith, nerves, general madness, and a centered belief in something that can tip my scale in the everyday opportunity to be a person of this kind of world.
Four years after that apartment move, I somehow purchased a house 2.5 hours outside of New York City, hoping to expand that net for others as well. There were dark spots during the first year plus of this pandemic, but the light has always been so clearly formed. Community, how we grow and keep it, being the clearest.
Buying a house with the advance from my second book was a seed I hope to grow in faith, time, and mostly in community.
Today, I am opening the books for The Mae House for the late winter season.
Here’s more about it and first access to visit the website and book your stay!
Thank you for your generosity and being part of this evolving community. And please bear with me as I work out a few kinks over the coming days.
Code to enter is TMHSOFTLAUNCH2022
“Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them. Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer.Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need. Take only that which is given. Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm. Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share. Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer
A little about the meaning behind the house and name:
Mae was my grandmother’s middle name. It is the same name I gave to my daughter in honor of my grandmother, whose life and legacy has stayed with me beyond her short years on this earth. Her genuine ease, style, peace and commitment to her Brooklyn community was something I strive to not only share with my children through their days, but embody in my work. The name Mae means mothering, care and nurturing, things I hope this place brings to me, my family, and the community that will grow here. It is also the alternate spelling for May, the month in which I closed on this property. I believe a name is not just a name, it is a spirit we choose to carry along with the people and places we call.
A little about the BIPOC residency and how it’s sustained:
When you stay at The Mae House, you become a part of its caring community and mission of equity. The cost of your stay goes towards overhead costs to keep the property and land in excellent condition. An important piece of this is its accessibility and creation of room for others through a quarterly residency program for BIPOC. The residency is not contingent on labor of any sort, and not attached to a non-profit. It acts as mutual aid while providing a nourishing and safe space for BIPOC to connect with nature, pick vegetables from the garden, and settle our bones away from the city or the other spaces we may call home.
When the house is rented it provides a 3-5 day stay, with no cleaning fees or upkeep costs. This will happen between the seasons using a request form. The first stay is slated in early spring.
In addition to the residencies, the net profit from each rental month will be split amongst River and Oak’s college fund and a local BIPOC focused organizations.
Renters are welcomed to not only stay on the land, but cook and care for it during their stays. The food that’s there, is yours to share. Take what you need, please leave the rest. I anticipate the residences will grow along with the rentals, and I hope in sharing this dream with you, you’ll consider the house when you’re next on a vacation upstate.
Can’t visit? I’d appreciate your support in getting the word out if you feel called to. #TheMaeHouse and @_themaehouse on instagram