Writing Retreat: Day the Fourth

It’s time to go home…

The tourist are trickling in bit by bit, stroller by stroller

I’m down to my last pair of clean knickers (they’re from Marks and Spencers so “knickers” applies)

Adam Lambert lost “American Idol” to the sweet but bland Kris Somebodyorother, and that awful fourth judge proved why we will never have a woman president

The Starbucks café card I bought to get “free” internet only has 41 cents left on it

My essay isn’t finished, but I expect it will be in my first few days back in the hell that is my Jersey suburb

Given my teaching schedule, I never remember the Memorial Day holiday, so I couldn’t figure out why my quiet little street was bustling so early in the morning and why the café I’ve spent three or four hours in every morning this week was almost full when I arrived. Unfortunately, my ipod battery died, so I was forced to listen to the charming chat of some local young’uns:

Guy #1 Yeah, she’s a nutcase.

Guy #2 Didn’t she go out with that guy who worked the back?

Girl #1 mumble, mumble F*!&^&@ mumble.

Guy #1 Yeah. But he couldn’t stand her, so they broke up and now he just does her on the weekends.

Girl #1 mumble, mumble F*!&^&@ mumble.

Guy # 2 Do you have to say mumble, mumble F*!&^&@ mumble all the time.

Guy #1 It’s really cool how it works out. He gets exactly what he wants.


Desperately pushing the middle button on my ipod-mini, I realized I’d left my pencil case back at the house and took that as a sign that it was time to leave.

The local Starbucks is quieter, and I’ll spend the day reading. The walk here is just long enough to let breakfast settle, and it’s relatively quiet. And it’s interesting to see a town getting ready for the start of tourist season. Shops that have been closed this week are open, new shops are putting on the final touches, and new mannequins have appeared in some of the store windows.

I’ve contributed my part to the retail community, which is astonishingly cheap. I’m not sure what black ballet slippers contribute to writing, but I’m convinced the pair I bought yesterday will help me with this final productive day. I also bought a totally touristy Newport hoodie. It was red and fit perfectly, and I couldn’t resist.

I finally got up to the “sunbathing” deck, but I kept my clothes on, thank you very much. It was cold (Karen and I went up at sunset to enjoy a drink and the view), and I hadn’t had enough to drink.

While I was walking to Starbucks this morning, I was thinking of what one needs for such a wonderful, productive writing retreat, and I came to the conclusion that there is no formula or recipe. This was luck, and I don’t know if, or when, the stars will line up again. Karen found a great place at a very low price, we’re here the week before the town gets too crowded, I was at a good place with this essay, and the dog was in a fabulous mood all week.

I will say that if this is a taste of what my summer will be like, I’m looking forward to the next few months. I have lots of interesting writing I’m looking forward to, great friends and family to hang out with, a lovely new wardrobe (thanks, Onie!), and some celebrations on the horizon.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll head home. I’m hoping to wake up early to beat the weekend traffic. But I have a day left, good writing ahead of me, and tonight Karen and I are going to a festive seafood place for dinner. I don’t know if they have chicken-fried lobster on the menu, but if they do…


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