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A Retreat, of Sorts

CSHChair

A Chair with a View

For the past three weeks, I lived on Long Island at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where my husband was running a course.  It was a writing retreat of sorts for me, with none of the usual interruptions of life at home, and long, solitary hours with my computer.

Food was available three times a day in the dining hall, so I had no groceries or dishes to consider.  No cleaning was needed.  No chores piled up.  I felt very spoiled.

Cold Spring Harbor, NY

Cold Spring Harbor, NY

I came home for a few days in the middle to mow and take care of a few things, and I took the LIRR into the city a few times to meet with people, but otherwise, I spent days (9 am to 10 pm) writing with even more single-minded focus than normal.

Nancy Mercado and Caragh O'Brien, NYC.

Nancy Mercado and Caragh O’Brien, NYC.

I’ve never been on a real writing retreat, so I can’t compare it to a classic one, but I liked it. I finished the draft of Project Next that I’ve been revising since May 1st, which feels like an important milestone.

The one down side was growing stiff from sitting in the same chair for so long every day, but even then, I had a pretty view of the quiet harbor.

As we left today, my husband and I stopped in New York City where I met up with Nancy Mercado, my editor.  She introduced me to the designer who will work on my cover.  Then Nan and I had a chance over lunch to talk about some of the revisions I’ve made and where the series is headed.  I could use another retreat just to mull over all we discussed.

You have to love the city in the summer.  The temperature hit 99°F, and the sidewalks baked heat upward.  I felt like I’d surfaced out of the obsessive, cocoon world of my novel into another planet, with culture and climate shock.

5th Avenue, July 18, 2013,  2 pm, 99ºF.

5th Avenue, July 18, 2013, 2 pm, 99ºF.

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