Looks Peaceful Doesn’t It? Wrong. The Snake Bitten, Solitary Writing Retreat


The people sitting next to me are talking about salami.

They’re sick of turkey, sick of it, I tell you, sick of it.

They joined me at the picnic table in the back yard of the inn where I’m staying for a self-imposed writing retreat. They are having their lunch. I am outside avoiding the awkwardness that would result from my remaining in my room while a male member of the housekeeping staff makes my bed and sets out clean towels. Also, I found the vacuuming a little distracting.

To be honest, I was going to head out anyway. The landscaper’s chainsaw and wood chipper right outside my window were also a little loud.

The picnic table in a serene spot behind the inn looked so promisingly peaceful. And it was peaceful, at first, but only for about 27 seconds, until the Sam Adams truck came by to make a delivery. The driver was efficient, though. He didn’t even turn off his loud, smoky engine while he unloaded the crates of beer. Good thing it didn’t take him too long, because the vodka truck was right behind him.

It is Utima brand vodka, which boasts a perfect balance of wheat, rye, and potato right there on the side of the truck. Anyone knows I’m a sucker for a potato, but I don’t like this truck at all.

The vodka truck driver is loud and smelly, or rather his truck engine is. He may very well be, too, but I can’t say for sure from here, overwhelmed as I am by the odor of my bench mates’ salami sandwiches. And anyway, who am I to judge? I can barely carry a Pepsi down the street. Oh, I haven’t told you about that yet, have I? Hang on, we’ll get there.

After attending a manuscript organization workshop at the Writers’ Loft, I decided to stay a couple of nights so that I could, well, organize my manuscript. It seemed like a great idea when I booked the room; however, I feel a little like my mini writing retreat has been snake bitten from the start.

First of all, I had my room keys for less than a heartbeat when I dropped and lost them. They were two real, metal keys on real metal key ring because this is one of those old fashioned inns – no electronic swipe cards impersonating room keys here. Now, my room keys are well and truly gone, floating around somewhere in the fourth dimension. The inn people were very good sports about it. They gave me another set and said they wouldn’t charge me.

And then there was my pocketbook. No, that’s not lost, that’s broken. The straps broke just after I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich from a nearby snack shop on my way back to the inn after the manuscript organization class.

It was fun carrying my strapless, bulging writer’s bag-slash-pocketbook in one hand while juggling a greasy grilled cheese and fries in the other. The Pepsi, unhappily confined in its weak plastic cup with the broken cover, sloshed and stained to its heart’s delight. I looked like an idiot, but it was a short walk back to the inn, so I was not visibly idiotic for too long.

They’re silent now. They are no longer talking about salami, or their dog who does not like to be outside in this heat, or the girl at work who will not answer the phone (who does she think she is?), or their upcoming trip to Ogunquit (I hope it doesn’t rain; is it supposed to?). They are no longer talking at all. Could it be that I am making them uncomfortable with my giggling and typing?

Well, perhaps they should have thought of that before they joined me at the picnic bench.

Warning: you must never trust a lady sitting alone with a laptop. You never know what she’s been through.

Oh, you bet I will.
Oh, you bet I will.








Author: kristinrusso

Writer, teacher, insatiable reader

11 thoughts on “Looks Peaceful Doesn’t It? Wrong. The Snake Bitten, Solitary Writing Retreat”

  1. I had no idea how you were suffering on your escape weekend, but then again I should have, I suppose, because I’ve spent so many similar weekends with you.
    I expect all writers eavesdrop, and you never know when you might need to use a salami sandwich in a story so it’s just as we’ll you had table mates who were chatty.


  2. ‘Sorry, after hitting “post” I couldn’t figure out how to edit we’ll and change it to well so perhaps you can do it so the comment doesn’t hurt your ears when you read it.


  3. Let’s leave it. No one will notice, even though you have pointed it out. And I don’t know what I’ve ever done to give you the impression that poor grammar makes me demented. (Tee hee.) Btw, there is a comma error in this writers’ retreat blog post. Can you find it before I edit? Good luck!


  4. Under the same circumstances, this how my blog would read, “I had booked a room at a rural inn so that I could have a few days away from my hectic household to concentrate on my writing. The Sam Adams truck came by to make a delivery. The end.” I like your version much better.


  5. Dear Kristin,
    Finding your mother chuckling away at the dining room table, I politely interrupted her with an inquiry. She showed me your blog which begged the question, how does a single person ( for descriptive reasons only, don’t get any funny ideas) capture and secure the only 8 foot long picnic table in sight on a gorgeous summer day?
    Sarge immediately came to mind, but alas, poor planning or, no dogs allowed. A “wet paint” sign may dissuade but the thirsty wood collection begs for wet paint.
    Introducing the fair skinned Adirondacks to each other might attract Salami central.
    If these suggestions turned out to be as effective as an Obama foreign policy initiative, Kerry not withstanding or sitting, then I would move on to smoky Sam and perfect balance ( not after a couple of pops) Ultima, in no particular order.
    I vote for Sarge.
    Love, Papa


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s