Happy Days

Last week was a fun one. On Sunday I finished up a lovely visit with my mom in the panhandle of Florida. On New Year’s Eve we had a wild time. My husband went to bed around ten. I dozed on the couch, but woke up in time for the ball drop. Are we two crazy kids or what?

But one of two big events was on Wednesday afternoon. I checked into a hotel for three nights. The hotel is only about fifteen minutes from my house. I desperately needed some dedicated writing time to work on A Time to Swill the first Chloe Jackson Redneck Riviera mystery. On the way to the hotel I stopped at Wegmans and picked up the three “S’s” – sushi, salads, and sandwiches to eat while I was working.

It was a rare opportunity for me and seemed incredibly indulgent. I know Edith and some of my other writing friends go on fairly frequent retreats and always rave about them. Now I know why. I left the room once to go down for breakfast on Friday morning. I know this sounds extreme and it was. But I got up every half hour to pace around the room and clear my head. Since my room faced the interior of the hotel I had nothing to stare out at and distract me. Even that helped my productivity.

When I stumbled out of the hotel Saturday morning I’d written 16,000 words. I think most of them are good but they will need some polishing. Being out in the fresh air after all that time outside was a bit disorienting.

My other big event was Saturday evening. I moderated a panel at East City Bookshop in Washington, DC sponsored by OutWrite DC called Unspeakable Crimes: LGBTQ Mystery Writing. The three authors Brenda Buchanan, John Copenhaver, and Cheryl Head are all amazing people and writers. We had some laughs and some poignant moments too. I could have talked to them for hours. Their books aren’t cozies but are well worth reading. Thanks to Diane Kenty for taking these photos!

Sunday it was a return to real life – wash, bills to pay, spending time with my family, and of course writing. I’m a lucky woman.

Readers: Have you ever done something for yourself that seemed indulgent?

28 Thoughts

  1. Sherry, good for you! I didn’t know you were going on solo retreat. Isn’t it marvelous? Great productivity, too. SO worth it. I’m heading down to the Quaker cottage on the Cape on the 19th for a week of same!

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  2. Great decision, Sherry! I plan to take my first solo writing retreat this month or next. As a matter of fact, I was going to bug Edith just this morning about practical details – how long do you go for? What about meals, groceries (you helped with that!)? I can’t believe that I opened FB this AM and this was the first posting. The universe responding! (Or Sherry, anyway.)

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    1. It isn’t it weird when things like that happen?! I did have room service once on Friday evening. And I would recommend leaving the room a bit more than I did. But the words were flowing, my family was supporting, and I needed to make the most of every minute.

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  3. Sounds wonderful what you did😊in December unexpectedly during the crazy holidays me & 2 friends living in Detroit Michigan drove 2 hours to Cleveland Ohio to see a comedian 🤗& 2hours back home it was great😊had the best laughs. Haven’t seen comedy live in years.

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  4. I’ve been doing the solo retreats a couple of times a year for quite a while. I go to a Holiday Inn Express a few miles from home. Check in on Friday afternoon, and check out on Sunday morning. Husband Dan takes me to dinner Saturday evening and puts me back in the hotel. I leave the Do Not Disturb sign on the door the whole time. Enjoy the free breakfast. There’s a small refrig and micro in the room. I bring soup, crackers, etc with me. Get lots of writing done every time. Another indulgence? Once a month pedicure

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  5. I wish! I keep putting out a hint to my girls that I would love to spend my birthday weekend at Das Essenhaus in Middlebury! I love the place, with the little shops and the restaurants are fantastic! Fingers crossed they have paid attention to the hints!

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  6. Florida, a retreat, a wonderful panel, and 16,000 words! Wow, Sherry! Good for you! I’ve only taken one writing retreat, unless you count at-home retreats, when the rest of the family travels, and I write and edit nonstop (with a little laundry/cleaning thrown in). I treasure those! The progress you made is inspiring.

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  7. Lucky you to have a few days of perfect peace–and a chance to get something done! One of my biggest indulgences (many, many years ago) was taking myself to dinner at the Tour d’Argent in Paris. Yup, just me, all by myself–I wasn’t sure I’d ever have that opportunity again (and I haven’t). Spectacular view of Notre Dame. I chatted with the handsome owner (in French, of course). And I ordered the quenelles de brochet for an appetizer, and their justly famous pressed duck for my main course. Ah, I remember it well . . .

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  8. To me it was indulgent, to others it was a necessity for my sanity which later I came to realize it was for sure. When we were full time caregivers for my Mom with Alzheimer, a very dear friend finally convinced me that I had to take care of myself to be able to take care of her. She lives out of state and arranged all the details for us to meet midway for a girls weekend. She was right, I felt better and it did make me a better caregiver. However, living so far away and the expense of such trips were feasible on any regular basis. It took even longer for me to decide to have a getaway for just me to try to do the same thing. With everyone’s blessing and encouragement, I started finding relatively close getaway spots for a weekend of pampering and doing nothing.It’s amazing how your frame of mind can improve with a little R&R with maybe a massage thrown in. No meals to fix, no laundry to do, no up and down during the night. Not only were the getaways good for me, they were good for those around me and they gave me something to look forward to to keep my spirits up. I still felt guilty putting all the work load on hubby while I was gone and spending money on just “me”, but I would still give the advice to others in the same situation to DO IT.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  9. Good for you, Sherry! I don’t remember the last time I did something indulgent for myself, but I’m determined to rent an AirBnB this summer for a weekend up in Erie and give myself a much needed retreat weekend.

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  10. The summer I turned 40, so did 3 of my friends and we decided to make a road trip. We were living in GA and went to Nashville for a big antique show and a long weekend of hanging out. We toured, went to the show (and bought things!) and hit the restaurants and saw a couple of movies. No kids, no husbands, and we had a blast!

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  11. As you well know, I’m a huge fan of writing retreats and attend one every season. But I don’t really see them as indulgent, I see them as part of my working life. My indulgence would have to be massage. I go to massage therapy at least twice a month. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to take care of my health. Indulgence has become necessity.

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  12. Edith, and now you, have been inspiring me on these solo retreats. Most of my solo retreats have been when Bill goes off to see a grandkid or get some family business done and I stay home. But then I’m still in my home environment with the home stuff to do. I think I’ll try to do a solo retreat this summer.

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  13. I am heading to an apartment in my home town of Camden, Maine in February for a month (at least) of mostly solo retreating to research and write. My husband will drive out with me and then (amazingly!) I won a weekend stay at a writer’s Retreat House in Rochester, VT. I hope I am as productive as you were!

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