A Retreat With Friends
It is no secret that I like to wander. When I was fifteen, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to see the world, write books, and BE HAPPY. I am rarely happier than when I’m out in the world, and I’ve just returned from a ten-day trip to New York City for a little ramble around BEA and also to see my son who lives there, then a whole week at a writer retreat in Montauk, on the very very eastern tip of Long Island.
I’d been a little tired before I left and not at all sure I wanted to go at all. The garden is finally in explosion mode, with aliums and poppies and roses budding and expanding, and I wanted to dig a lot more. The first flight was at 6 am, and I didn’t want to get up at 3 to travel….
And yet. As we drove to the airport, I felt the familiar lift of my heart–setting out to go somewhere at dawn. By the time I was settled in my little European style hotel in Chelsea, the bliss had already settled in. I walked for miles in the city, up to a publishing party where I met some friends, ducking into a noodle bar for some light supper when it started to rain. After several visits to this hotel, I know the shops in the area and the place that has organic eggs for breakfast and that somehow comforts and delights me.
The next day, I walked down to the West Village to meet my son for brunch at Blossom, and along the way, I spied a tall beauty, smoking a cigarette. Everything about her struck me–the turban and her height and her young, young face, and the cigarette, which she was going to hide when I took her picture, but I liked it and asked if she’d mind if that was part of it.
The main reason for the trip was a writing retreat with 7 other authors, at a house we rented for a week in Montauk, which is a beachy little village at the very, very far end of Long Island. I’d never heard of it before the retreat, but it is now one of my favorite places. Check out this view of the beach, on a windy Monday in early June:
We ate and walked on the mostly deserted beaches, brainstormed answers to story problems and business problems and life problems, shared stories of our lives, and filled the well. Our digs on a lake, after a rainy day. The night was so still and quiet and misty-soft that I was drawn outside and it gave me the gift of nourishment.
The sunsets were astonishing.
I was working on a new adult novel (I’m writing as Lark O’Neal in that arena, just so readers will know what they are getting) and have been world building for the next book for Barbara O’Neal. There are peaches and dogs and mystical things I am not at liberty to reveal (also it would spoil the surprise).
Here’s the whole crew:
Back row, Anne Hearn, me, Tina Folsom, Bella Andre; second row, Christie Ridgway, Sara Ramsey, Barbara Freethy, & Grace Callaway. Good times, my friends!