Friday Five

1. You may have heard a little news story about the earthquake that hit in rural Virginia, but was felt up and down the East Coast of the US. Here in NYC, our blinds shook and water rippled in our glasses. This is quite a rare occurance here so like most people, my first thought was not “earthquake.” It took me a moment to process what was happening. Let’s just say that it was an interesting moment in an otherwise humdrum day, but it was largely a nonevent this far north of the epicenter. Most people in my office were treating it as such but the building manager went to Crazytown. At first he was practically screaming in the PA system, “Stay where you are! Do not leave your offices!”  Then he changed his mind and yelled for everyone to evacuate the buildings (probably not the best idea anyway). People started to get nervous. It takes a village to raise a child or help save an Elderbull, but it only takes one crazy building manager to incite a panic. Then of course, he told people to return to their desks, almost chuckling. “No need to evacuate.” I watched the whole circus unfold from the comfort of my office.

And now we’re bracing for a hurricane on Sunday. Next up: a plague of locusts.

2. One flush away from a winner. A Brooklyn restaurant has entered a tough compeitition. It’s not the best souffle or best service. It’s the best bathroom.  The Habana Outpost in the Fort Greene neighborhood is a top ten finalist and vying for the best bathroom in America.  This bathroom is special because it is one of the “greenest bathrooms in the U.S.” Among other eco-friendly attributes, the toilets are filled with rainwater redirected from a holding tank outside.

Voting is still open, and I’ll be giving some Brooklyn love, but you can vote for your favorite here. (You know you want to!) Canadians: there’s a link to vote on your best bathroom, too.

Don't let your dreams go down the drain!

3. Beacon is the new Brooklyn. At least that’s what The New York Times said. For the first time in, well ever, I can count myself among the hip and happening because last weekend Reggie and I found ourselves in Beacon, New York. It’s located about 1.5 hours north of NYC. A city of about 15,000 right on the Hudson River, it has a burgeoning art scene with a highly respected modern art museum and dozens of lovely galleries. Though the arts are no stranger to this area. The Hudson River School was a “a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism.”  But I was in Beacon for another reason altogether.

"The Oxbow" by Thomas Cole, Hudson River School artist, image via Wikipedia

4. I went to this scenic locale for a weekend writer’s retreat. I’ve been on the home stretch of finishing my novel for months. I needed a place free of distractions so I could get large chunks of quality time to dig into the revision. I spent most of the trip in this place below: an old school gymnasium turned studio. What a lucky girl am I to be able to sequester myself for two straight days and focus on my novel. It paid dividends, too, because I tallied about 75 pages! And I was happy with them!

Another bonus was that I received crucial feedback that helped me retool my opening pages. I find it amazing that I’d reviewed those particular paragraphs dozens of times and never noticed the crux of the problem until someone else shined a spotlight on it. I’d like to go back again soon. Maybe in the fall when all the leaves are changing.

 It was such a pretty weekend, it would have been a shame to spend all of it inside, so during my breaks, Reggie and I went down to the river and checked out the happenings.

The Hudson River across to Newburgh

Looking south toward West Point

5. A Room with a View. While I was writing, Reggie was also being very productive. This was how he spent all of his time until it got dark. Certainly a much nicer view than the one from my apartment, which is of a brick wall.

Squirrel!

May you have a hurricane-free weekend! 

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12 comments

  1. I love these Friday posts and always want to say about 10 things in response to just five items of your own 🙂 But, I will exhibit self control.
    I love the best bathrooms contest, and I totally agree that your choice is the best. Rainwater toilet? Yes please!
    Your writer’s retreat sounds amazing, but the location and the community seemed great. It’s wonderful to be in a beautiful setting and feel surrounded by so much support that you let yourself be open to new ideas and perspectives.
    Congrats!

    Like

    1. You’re among friends here, so just let it all hang out! (Blogospherically speaking of course. 🙂 )

      The retreat was so beneficial on many fronts. It really recharged by batteries and got me excited about my novel. It was so worth it. And the Reginator and I got to spend quality time as you can see.

      Like

  2. That bathroom is amazing! A little outhousy looking, but hey, if it’s green, then I’m good with it.
    Lucky you to get to go away for two whole days and just write. What bliss. And 75 pages! Woohoo!

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    1. That bathroom is a Brooklynite’s idea of roughing it. 🙂

      I am one lucky girl indeed! I think I felt I little guilty about going on the retreat so I really put my nose to the grindstone. It was so worth it just to get that feedback I desperately needed.

      Like

  3. Man, those Hudson River guys were some no-talents, huh? WOW! I’ve been fortunate enough to see a few pieces and they really are incredible!
    Congrats on the progress with your novel, too! My wife is perpetually writing, so… I understand! 🙂

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    1. Right?! That painting looks like a photograph. I can only imagine how impressive it is in person.
      Thanks for the good thoughts about the novel. Now I just need to keep the momentum going for the next 225 pages. 😛

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  4. I love the painting and I’m glad to hear the writer’s retreat was so successful. It’s so good to get constructive feedback. I only know the writing classes of Gotham but liked them very much. Online is all I can do with my work schedule right now.

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    1. This was my first retreat so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found myself really focused, mostly because I didn’t want to waste one minute of this precious time given to me.

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    1. I was thinking about the same thing! I would have not been able to go at all if the retreat had been this weekend. Whew!

      Like

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