Monday, February 20, 2012

the weekend away

the funny thing about blogging, when you do it the way i do - made up of day-in-the-life vingets - is that your material is your life, and when things go horribly wrong in your life, you're forced to share something that you normally would have kept to yourself.

i get, now, why lots of writers, just blog about writing or books they read.

lately, (hello nyc lesson #340,023) i've discovered that i don't have a lot of filters in place. i share way more than other people do, never seeing what the harm is. not until later when i feel overly exposed and creeped out, i realize the harm was to myself.

i'm babbling. but i don't want to write this post. there is no good way to talk about this weekend. my writer's retreat getaway was truly awful and also marvelous. it deserves two blogs, but i don't want to put off one topic or extend the other. so as they were in life, messily overlapping, they will be here too.

the marvelous will come first, because otherwise the awful part wipes it all away.

being in someplace beautiful always makes me wonder why i've ever chosen to live in nyc. and while my answer has to do with trees grow and change slowly, seasonally, while the city is in constant movement, the truth is that i haven't found my country yet. so for now, it's nyc. but i will always question my location, location, location, when i'm encountered with views like this:

at home, my routine is to wake up, put on coffee and immediately get to writing. usually by noon, i feel squirly, needing to see sunshine. by three, i need to get out of the apartment. maybe it has something to do with seeing concrete when i look out my windows or maybe it has something to do with the solidarity of my environment, but with other writers around, keeping to the exact same schedule, i felt happy, at peace and uber-productive. i never once felt there was something else i ought to be doing (the way i constantly feel in nyc). and writing didn't feel frivolous, it felt like the most important work i could possibly be doing.
at one point, Gina looked up as we sat in silence, clacking away, and said, "I'm so happy right now!" it was a mutual feeling. maybe it looks nerdy and strange to anyone else, but to a writer? this right here is heaven:

okay, maybe it did get a little nerdy at night...

that's right, nothing spells good times like a fire, marshmallows and editing.

in between all the writing, and thinking about my book, and talking about my books with the girls, we did two of my other favorite things. (okay, i have many favorite things, but we'll say the following two are top five). first, whenever we felt fried we'd take a long exploratory walk.

fyi the Poconos are beautiful and a wee bit strange. first, the street names are written on utility poles and would win top prize in an onomatopoeia contest.

meanwhile, Pocono residents all have a weird bear fetish.

they are everywhere. hiding behind rocks...

climbing trees...

supporting the Buffalo Bills...

and in general just taking up a lot of space....

fyi next time you're curious -
who actually buys those chainsaw sculptures?
you'll know, it's this guy.

but besides the bears and super odd lenghty addresses, there is beauty everywhere. and unlike (or just like) nyc you don't have to look very hard to find it...

the funny thing about taking adventure walks with a bunch of other bloggers is that when you get to your destination, feelings of awe and triumph are quickly imposed upon by the need to take the perfect blog post picture...

and the funny thing about taking adventure walks with YA and Middlegrade writers is that when you find a tiny door on the back of your cabin you all go: OOOOOHHHH! and think of story ideas...

my second favorite thing about retreating with other writers is that when feeling squirrely or needing a break? we snacked. and what i actually mean to say is, WE SNACKED.

yes, that is the big tub o hummus. booyah!

big breakfasts were followed by bowls of chips were followed by grapes and cookies were followed by cheese were followed by dinner were followed by more chips and cookies. for me?
heaven. heaven in a small white bowl with an ever changing filling.
i couldn't ask for a more perfect weekend. since it wasn't at all expensie, we've agreed to do it more frequently. i'm leaving here with 90 newly written pages, a more passionate dedication to both of my new book ideas (why not write two books at the same time?), and a wonderment that i don't always live in a place that is sunny, beautiful and conducive to a calm, happy, productive corrie.
quite honestly, and maybe this is again too much information, but I'm not looking forward to going home.

the awful has to do with my Bruno. the very first night i was away, he bit my sister. i didn't know about it until the second day after he went after her again and she finally called me in tears. my worst fear came true. i haven't seen the pictures my sis took of her arm. she tells me she's fine, but shaken and sore.

two and a half hours away in the Poconos, after considering taking a bus back home to be the one to walk into my apartment and calm him down, i called the shelter that i adopted him from instead. an hour later, they went to my apartment and took Bruno away.

i left him too soon. and yes, he might have just done this to me or someone else down the line. yes, what's the point of having a dog that's too violent to leave comfortably with someone else. yes, this all could have ended a lot worse. but i knew, knew that it was too soon to leave him with someone else. so i essentially let everyone involved down. because i knew the disturbance in his very new, yes stable, but still very new life, was more than his very tempermental personality could take.

so while i was in the middle of a fabulous weekend retreat, my sister got hurt and my doggie was dragged out of my house and shipped back to his shelter.

i hope he's okay. tho i feel oddly guilty calling the shelter to find out. and me? no filter me? i feel foolish, guilty, and angry at the world.


  1. Oh Corrie, I'm so sorry about the sucky part. Please don't blame yourself. I know that is easier said than done. Sure, you left him- but, this might have happened whether or not you did leave. It is so difficult to know truly how older dogs (or any shelter dog)will behave without having a thorough history. This is not your fault. You tried to do something truly lovely for this guy. And returning him to the shelter- that was good too.

    The very first dog Jeff and I ever adopted was a pit bull shepherd mix. She had been in the shelter a long time. She was lovely and sweet and gentle with us. The shelter glossed over the fact that she had these lumps running up and down her abdomen. We had just moved to Heath and there was some work getting done in the house. The dog growled viciously at my step father and my neighbor who was installing a storm door on our house. I brushed it off because I thought that she was just being protective of us- and that is kind of what I wanted-protection. We took her to the vet for her first exam and she growled at him. He knew enough to muzzle her. He also examined her belly and told us those lumps the shelter vet glossed over were really tumors. He told us in light of her tumors and her behavior to take her back to the shelter right away and demand our donation back. He felt it was unethical of them to try to push her through adoptions. I was heartbroken. Of course, I had already fallen in love with her. She was so wonderful with me, Jeff and Max (who was only 8 months old). I cried for days- feeling like I had failed her and that the shelter had failed us. It just wasn't fair. Sorry to have written all of this here instead of in an email. I just wanted to let you know that I feel your sadness and your anger at the world.

    I love you, Corrie. And, I hope that the universe will throw you something truly lovely to balance out the sucky part.

  2. I had such a great time hanging out and writing with you and the other girls this weekend. I felt so bad when you heard the news about Bruno...I hope going home wasn't too terrible and that you're feeling somewhat better. *hugs*