North Carolina: The Writing Retreat

Quitting & Career Management, The Lost Girls: The Book, United States — By on November 26, 2008 at 4:18 pm

by Amanda Pressner

roadtrip North CarolinaOn Saturday, I flew down to Tampa and drove 9 hours north with my family to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Dad and his wife Nadine bought a house there a couple years ago (before the market started crashing) and they constantly drive up to take advantage of the solitude and spectacular views.

This year, there were several reasons that I felt strongly compelled to join them, and here they are, in no particular order:

Thanksgiving dessert 1. Turkey Day: Rather than the massive extended family gathering that we typically have at my Aunt’s and Uncle’s place in Courtlandt Manor (an hour north o f NYC) Dad, Nadine and my sister Jenn decided that we’d rather retreat to the mountains and do our own subdued affair.
That by no means translates to less food consumed. Dad Pressner fancies himself quite the gourmet chef, and has been planning our feast for days and possibly weeks on end. All I have to do is show up, gorge, and promise to wash a few dishes. You know, after my nap.
2. Impending deadlines: Um, so we’re a little behind on the deadline for our book. It’s not due yet (Jan 30th, to be exact) but we’re not exactly putting the finishing touches on our first draft either. Eep! Earlier this year, through a trial and error, we realized that you can’t expect to write a full-length memoir at night after putting in 10+ hours a day at work. That’s why, in August, The Lost Girls once again made some pretty big lifestyle changes: Jen quit her job, Holly stopped accepting freelance assignments, and I negociated a part-time gig at my magazine. Since then, our fingers have been flying on our respective keyboards, but we all needed to get away this month to really concentrate (we’re all bad at turning down social activities and other must-do events at home). Jen’s in St. Augustine with her folks, Holly’s in Syracuse with her mom and sisters, and I’m in Maggie Valley.

Since arriving at the NC house, I’ve been able to fully throw myself into the chapters, and write in a much more comfy/cozy environment than my cramped apartment. I leave the house once a day to walk down the hill, get exercise, and maybe go on a grocery shopping run. In early December, we’re turning in the first half of the book to our editor (told you were were behind!) so fingers crossed.

North Carolina landscape
Thanksgiving dinner

Alfred P. Newman3. My Jack O’Lantern Smile: Okay, this might gross a few of you out, which is why I separated this from the turkey day post. Last Friday, I had to get some dental surgery with resulted in my front right tooth getting taken out. Ahhhh! They’re replacing it, of course, but for 6 months, I have to wear a “temporary.” Its not the most awesome thing that can happen to a girl, but I’m so grateful to have a week and half or so where I can rest, heal and not see anyone besides my family. They’re having a blast making hillbilly jokes, but I actually think that I look a bit more like Alfred P. Newman (the guy on the Mad Magazine covers).

At the very least, my new look helps give me this healthy new perspective on all of those upcoming deadlines….

What, me worry?

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    1 Comment

  • Anjuli says:

    I wish you all the best on finishing the book!!! Its always that ending bit which seems to take the longest–you’ll do fine!

    What lovely pics!!