Writing Retreat: Day 1 at The Hemingway House

Back in January, my friend Lauren suggested we go on a writing retreat. There was a woman she knew of who rented her Cape Cod beach house during the off-season, specifically to writers looking to get away and work on their projects. We filled out our applications, and a couple months later, here we are, two writers together in a beautiful house, bracing for a nor’easter, and writing, writing, writing.

Lauren and I write nonfiction: she focuses on essays about family, friends, and being 20-something female; I’m working on a memoir about the sudden death of my teenage brother and the grief that followed. We’ve been friends for over ten years now, and to me, she’s the perfect writing partner. In fact, she’s part of the reason I started writing again after a lengthy hiatus. After college, I slipped into a post-grad slump and abandoned my writing. Her confidence in me helped pull me back up.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a soft white armchair in a nook of Lauren’s bedroom. She sits on the bed, draped in a blanket, revising her latest essay about her own post-grad slump. It’s like parallel play, I think, remembering the child psychology class I took in college, which is when toddlers play near, but not with, each other. They’re interested in what the other is doing, but will not interfere. Writing can be such a lonely, solitary, and sometimes emotionally draining process, but having each other keeps us sane.

I’m writing this post for two reasons: I’m avoiding inflicting more emotional pain on myself as I recreate a particularly shameful moment of my life, and two, I decided that I need to start blogging, and now– as I’m actually doing something writerly–  seems like as good a time as any. I’m not sure what I want this blog to be yet, and sometimes I feel that I have nothing to say about my normal day to day life.

But this is a start.

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