Notes from the Fire Island writers retreat

I’m here in Fire Island with fellow YA writers Lauren Oliver, Lexa Hillyer, Elizabeth Miles, Courtney Sheinmel, Jess Rothenberg, and Rebecca Serle. To give you a sense of what it’s like here: I just saw a butterfly float by our writing table.

We have a schedule, here on Fire Island. Every morning we wake up around 9 or 9:30. Actually, I wake up around 9 or 9:30, only to find that everyone else is already awake. I can’t say when they wake up, due to how I am asleep. Then we write on the porch until lunchtime, taking breaks only to observe passing butterflies or eat more cereal.

Around 1pm we walk downtown. The “walk” is roughly 1/8th of a mile, and the “downtown” is one restaurant, one pizza shack, and a grocery store. We go to the grocery store and buy ridiculously overpriced sandwiches, which we take with us to eat on the beach. Also sometimes chips and dip. We sit on the beach for a couple hours, and Lauren frolics in the waves, while Lexa, Courtney, and I wade in up to our knees and then somehow get knocked over and talk about how we almost drowned.

Around 3pm, we come back home. I shower and put on real clothes (by which I mean a T-shirt and an American Eagle sweatskirt from the year 2002). Then we write for the rest of the afternoon. Around 6pm Lauren makes guacamole, which we finish eating by around 6:03. Then I go for a walk and encounter many, many deer and one solitary water rat. I come back to the house and work a little more, and then we eat dinner, and then we maybe work a little more, and then we make s’mores on the grille, and then we play Apples to Apples, only with special, literary-themed rules that we have invented that I do not entirely understand. Around midnight, we head to bed.

I don’t know how long it would take for me to grow bored of this schedule, but I suspect a very, very long time.