Images from a Writing Retreat

No, not of me writing. How boring would that be! Here’s some of what I saw and did during break times.

A few shots of my surroundings at the motel, with kibitzers:

Ducks, who later started grouping casually around me,
as they discovered my M&Ms
Geese (but you knew that)

A lone hen

Rollerblading along the Cape Cod Canal, after a hard afternoon of writing and relaxing:

Sagamore Bridge from bike path

Looking toward eastern end of canal
 The Cape Cod Central Railroad’s scenic lunch train:
Train in Hyannis station

Going the distance on rollerblades, to the other end of the canal, 13 miles roundtrip. Followed by an excellent meal of fish & chips & local IPA.

Bourne Bridge from bike path
Railroad Bridge near west end of canal

Alas, I must pack up today and bring it to an end! It’s been great!

Writing Retreat, August 2012

This week finds me once more on Cape Cod, holed up this time in a motel (B&B too expensive), hoping to log some serious writing time on The Reefs of Time. Actually, at least half the goal is to give myself some solitude for a few days, so I might start hearing my thoughts over the already-fading din of everyday life. Mental restoration is the first step, and at least as important as the words I hope to get written. If you’re hoping to see the finished book (as I am), thank Allysen for arranging for me to come down here and press Reset.

I don’t expect to post much online while I’m here, but coming soon is an announcement about my new book of short stories. The work is done, and the announcement is already written, coiled, and ready to strike at the preordained moment.

Now, if you’ll excuse me while I look for the Reset button…

On Writing Retreat Again

This week I’m in beautiful Gloucester, Mass., for a few days to get away from it all and try to wrap my head about this elusive book. Allysen set me up with a B&B overlooking the harbor. Here’s the view from my window:

Not bad, huh? The waterfront is actually a lot closer than it looks in the picture. It’s about a five minute walk. The Cape Ann Brewery and Pub is a ten minute walk. (Their fish & chips are good; their beer is excellent.) My next seafood foray will probably be Gloucester House Restaurant, tonight.

When I drove in yesterday, there was an enormous honking cruise ship anchored in the harbor. Here’s a fuzzy picture of it (I really should set my cell phone camera to a better resolution, if I’m going to keep using it for these things):

When I got back to my room, I hopped online to, where you can identify just about any ship anywhere in the world at any given moment. You just zoom in on the map, click the icons, and learn—for example—that this cruise ship is called the Eurodam, and it was anchored, but ultimately en route to Bar Harbor, Maine. Indeed, shortly after I took this photo, it moved out of the harbor and headed north.

Writing-wise, it’s taking longer than usual to settle in. My mind is still all over the place; but slowly, slowly, some important issues about the story are starting to ooze back into focus. Here’s hoping it all comes back soon.

Cape Cod Writing Retreat

I’ve just come back from a four-day writing retreat on Cape Cod, in the town of Sandwich, just over the Cape Cod Canal which marks the boundary of the Cape from the mainland of Massachusetts. Allysen set me up at a great B&B in Sandwich (the 1830 Quince Tree House), and I reveled in having time to myself, time to spend near the water, time to write, time to rollerblade along the bike path that runs most of the length of the canal. It was fabulous! Even in such a short time, I started to get more traction on the book. 

Here are some pix I took with my cellphone camera, most of them shot from the bike path while I was skating.

Foot traffic on the path, near the beginning in Sandwich.
In the distance to the south, you can just see the Sagamore Bridge.

Having passed the Sagamore Bridge,
now looking back north toward it.
A little farther on, looking south toward the Bourne Bridge,
and the RR bridge in the distance

The bike path begins near a long jetty that extends into Massachusetts Bay from northern end of the canal. I could have spent a week just watching the boats go through the canal (though I never did catch any of the commercial ships that are supposed to account for half the traffic). Not far along the coast are the beaches, and the salt marshes just inland of the dunes.

Sandwich salt marsh

Another highlight was taking a scenic ride on the Cape Cod Central RR, along the canal and past the cranberry bogs. It was a foggy evening, but that just made the canal eerie and beautiful in a different way. (For more money and an advance reservation, you can have an elegant dinner or a family-style supper on the train. That’s definitely on my to-do list with Allysen.)

The Sagamore Bridge, in the evening fog.

The last evening I was there, I got it into my head to skate the length of the bike path (6.5 miles) and take a picture of the train going over the beautiful 1930’s lift bridge at the south end of the canal. I succeeded, though the picture didn’t come out very well, so here’s a shot of the train passing along the canal, right next to the bike path.  And another of the RR bridge against the setting sun. Once I saw the train cross the bridge, and the sun setting behind the bridge, I realized that I’d just watched the sun go down, and I had six and a half miles of skating between me and my car! Flank speed! I just made it before the light failed.

Cape Cod Central RR dinner train, rumbling along the canal. 
The RR bridge at sunset, in the lowered position. 

Finally, I got to enjoy my favorite beer, Cape Cod IPA—and (somewhat to excess) my favorite foods, fresh fish and chips, scallops, and shrimp.

I’m ready to go back!

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