Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Get Ye to a Nunnery!

Last Saturday the Long Island Romance Writers had their first annual writing retreat, of which I participated. Sixteen of us embarked on a day of uninterrupted writing pleasure held at a House of Prayer in Riverhead, N.Y..

At the begining, Sister Barbara told us the history of the house and how the Archdiocese had come to own it. Yolanda, one of our members who had been there before, asked about the walkway to the beach. The Sister said it was not the sturdiest and that's why it was roped off. This of course peaked my curiousity. So while everyone else went to claim a little patch of solitude, I went off to find this path.

Now you have to picture this. I look like a pack mule. I have a beach chair, that I borrowed from one of the ladies, laying across my back like a backpack. I also have my pocketbook and a tote bag slung on my shoulder and I'm trying to crawl under the railing onto the walkway. Graceful is not a word I'd use. I finally got up there and started my trek. The path had some rotten boards while others were completely missing, but I trudged on. Then came the steps. Two hundred and fifty steep steps. They looked daunting but hey after that there's the beach, right? Ah, no. Then came another fifteen feet or so of walkway that ended on a twenty-five degree tilt to the right. Now the beach? Guess again. The rest of the path had fallen away. That section rested in the sand listing at an even sharper angle to the left.

The part I was standing on swayed gently every time I moved and I realized, after looking, that the supports didn't reach the ground. Oh fun. I took off my baggage and slid off the edge to the unconnected section three feet below then grabbed my stuff and causiously made my way across the next test of dexterity. Made it. Beach? Not quite. The last part of my journey was comprised of ten steps of sand covered wood that had been laid at intervals.

Ta-da! There was the beach before me in all it's glory. It was perfect. It was deserted. I loved it. I put my belongings down on a large flat rock and stretched out besides them, using my jacket as a pillow. I turned to my right and noticed I shared rock with a dead spider crab. I decided to name him Floyd. He had barnacles on his carapice and his front legs were curved in a defensive stance. Call me strange but there was something about him I liked.

I was there to brainstorm ideas for a story so I didn't get much real writing done. Hey maybe I could write a story about killer crabs. No that was done in a movie in the 50's. Well anyway, the day wasn't a total wash. I did come up with an idea, wrote a couple of descriptions and got to lay in the warm sun while listening to the waves as they rolled onto the shore. To me that's a good day.


  1. Do you mean there is actually someone else out there who has watched "Attack of the Crab Monsters?" This was a family favorite... we've been looking for the film on DVD or VHS for years! Great post, Donna. The day at the Villa Immaculata was inspiring - so glad we are doing this every year, looks like! 2011 will be on Sept. 17th I hear! So happy you made it down to (and back from) the water. I didn't think of attempting it.

  2. Truthfully I don't remember watching that movie though I might have viewed it on Million Dollar Theater when I was a kid.

    I happened to remember the premise. It was like all those movies from the 50's: The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman or The Attack of the Killer Ants. Or how about the one from the 60's: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? All classics!

    I'm also glad we're making it an annual event. Everyone seemed to get a lot out of it. I only hope we always have such beautiful weather. :)