Today is the first day of my writer's retreat. I'm not in a cabin in the woods, but in my bedroom/office in Brooklyn. We arrived on Thursday and for the next two days we went to work to not only make the house more comfortable, but also more functional. While I concentrated on cleaning, my husband bid the heavy work which included hanging a clothes line, assembling a bistro, and building my desk. He did a wonderful job so at the end of each day he was rewarded with a meal at the restaurant of his choosing.
The first night we went down the corner to the Italian joint so he could have his baked clams and Veal Rollatine, both of which were excellent. The next day he chose to go to his favorite roast beef joint, Brennan & Carr's. Wow, what a disappointment. We couldn't put our finger on why the sandwich tasted so lousy until we realized they have done away with the cheddar cheese melt and instead put a slice of American cheese! WTF?! The french fries were barely cooked, cold and again the renown cheddar cheese was missing. Not only was the quality lacking, but they raised the prices. Makes no sense especially since they were recently highlighted on the Food Channel or Travel Network. Why screw with a good thing? The last night he was to be in town we went to Joe's Foccaceria of Avenue U. I had heard hubbub that it wasn't the same since the owner married a Russian woman. I had a craving for the Sicilian meatloaf that I love, love, love. Not any more! It came with brown gravy! That's not Sicilian!!! Totally different, and not in a good way. Our friends had the stuffed artichokes which they said were bland not the same. We also had an order of stuffed mushrooms...bland and cold. No "wise guys" were hanging around and now I know why. One thing Italian men know is good Sicilian food and I'm sad to say it could not be found here. Sniff. Sniff.
Everything changes, and sometimes it's not for the good. One of my missions while I'm on my sabbatical will be to find us new joints to eat at. Of course the main mission is to at least get the first draft down on my Virginia story. I wrote the New York story in Virginia and now I seek to write the Virginia story in New York. It's not the "haunted" one, but another precautionary, modern tale which centers around the same family in my first book, Fractured Facade. Although this tale will not be about ghosts, I have to tell you since I've been in the house by myself I have heard my name called once -- it sounded like my dad -- and keep experiencing knocks on the wall, dresser, etc. Perhaps I may have yet another tale to tell by the time I leave here.
Anyway, I can't thank my husband enough for not only agreeing to my request to flee Roanoke, or to drive me here, or to complete everything on my honey-do list in two days, or to be at the ready if I decide I need to come home quickly, but for also holding down the house, business, family, and puppy in Virginia. I am so freaking lucky to have met a prince like him after a lifetime of kissing frogs, and I hope my efforts won't be in vain and that I will actually write something that will sell so I could help him out for a change.
This is my new "office."
As you can see my desk is nowhere near as grand as the one in Roanoke, but I'm hoping this change of environment will be what I needed to light that spark again. Too bad I have to wait for the cable company (they all suck, don't they?) to come so I can't get into my zone...yet. Maybe I'll create a photo blog of my Brooklyn tour from yesterday.