Summer 2022

(Courtesy of Montauk Chamber of Commerce)

These boats are among the hundreds berthed in Montauk Harbor. One of my favorite summer pleasures is to sit and dine at Gosman’s Dock restaurant and see the boats sail in and out of the huge Inlet. I did this last week with my son, Jeffrey, who was visiting from California. It was a clear, warm evening and, to our surprise, the restaurant was not crowded. We sat next to the large open windows as we ate our lobster dinners, with the Inlet right outside, watching a parade of vessels of all shapes and sizes float in and out of the harbor. After dessert and before we left, a rainbow appeared in the sky right above our window, followed by a dazzling sunset near the beach. People walked about the parking area or climbed down onto the sandy shore to sit and take photos.

Earlier in June I was invited aboard the Viking Starship for the annual Blessing of the Fleet. The boat, 140 feet long and licensed for 300 passengers, cruised over to Town Dock in Montauk Harbor, at 5:00pm. Boats decorated with colorful flags were lined up in the harbor to parade by so that clergy on the lower deck of the Viking – a priest, minister and rabbi – could bless them. Huge draggers and other commercial boats, Boston Whalers and skiffs, as well as charter boats, sailboats, and private yachts passed by. On the upper deck, I sat and spoke with people from the fishing community who were there to mourn deceased family members. Beautiful floral wreaths, donated by the Boatmen and Captains Association, were spread out and later, after the Starship left Town Dock and moved outside the harbor, those wreaths were tossed, one by one, name by name as listed, into the ocean.

“My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.”

Anne Lamott

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.”

Robert Wyland

While in Chico, California, in late April, I watched my son, a guitarist and singer, perform at a weekend arts and crafts fair. Then he performed with his band, “Four on the Floor”, at a local brewery. At the studio where they rehearse each week, I heard them twice again. The band will play gigs throughout the summer, and Jeffrey has solo events lined up as well. Later, during the several days I stayed in Sacramento, my author friends, Maria and Ted, joined me in Old Town and showed me areas of the city I hadn’t seen before. Each time I visit I learn interesting new details about the capital city of California.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Ibn Battuta

“The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time.”

Bill Bryson

Summer is definitely here in the Hamptons. We just have to walk or drive on the busy roads to know this. I’m not a regular beachgoer but I’m sure every beach is crowded on sunny days. After living out here for so many years I’ve learned when and where to shop, eat at restaurants, and when to stay at home, read and write, stay in touch with family and friends, and not complain. I’m so lucky to live in the beautiful town of East Hampton.

On May 28, at the Sag Harbor Cinema, I attended the filming of Popeye, the 1980 film with Robin Williams, which was followed by a Q & A with Jules Feiffer, who was one of my favorite professors in the Stony Book Southampton MFA program – “Humor and Truth” was the course, and I took it twice. Jules, who lives now on Shelter Island, looks and sounds great, is funny as ever, and he’s 93 years old.

In early June, I was at The Church, our new arts center in Sag Harbor, for poet Philip Schultz’s pleasant discussion with Jill Bialosky, poet and editor, about his new memoir, Comforts of the Abyss. Founder of The Writer’s Studio, Schultz has been teaching since 1971. He lives in East Hampton.

“We are all continually embarking on first drafts, in every aspect of our lives.”

Jules Feiffer

Our spring-into-summer writing workshop is going on right now, at my home. In good weather we sit out on the deck, with the option of going inside, as necessary, where I have central a/c. We have no more than five writers each week, and good discussions are part of each session. I am fortunate to be working with such talented writers and glad to keep in touch via this newsletter. Many of the writers I’ve met during my almost 30 years of teaching and running workshops have become close friends.

Among the former students, Eve Karlin, of East Hampton, had a book launch for her second novel, a spy thriller set in World War II, Track 61, at Bookhampton on June 18.

I was among the large crowd that filled the store, and a party followed at Eve’s home.

Sheila Flynn DeCosse, of Sag Harbor and Manhattan, is the author of Rose Alone, her novel for young readers, and her first book, that was published in March. The book is a delight to read and is gaining much attention.

Tom Hannon (or T. J. Hannon) has just published his short and sweet The Lady of the Lake: The Mystery of Lake Ronkonkoma, which is his hometown. Find this book and his others on Amazon.

Another former student, Diane Morelli, of Hampton Bays, had a poem published earlier this year in Kaleidoscope magazine called “Magenta Fleece Sweatpants.” She won a Hampton Bays Library poetry contest with “The Clothes Rack” in April and had a haiku called “Mighty Flora” published in June in Creations magazine.

Karyn Mannix, of East Hampton, a current student, whose semi-autobiographical novel is well in progress, is also an artist, an art dealer and teacher. On August 6 and 7 Karyn will take over Herrick Park in East Hampton village for a juried show, Hampton Iconic, an “artist marketplace with a focus on East End artists”. Schneps Media (Dan’s Papers) has just selected Karyn as a honoree of this year’s Power Women of the East End. You can contact her at karynmannixcontemporary.com.

“To be an artist or a writer is to be this weird thing – a hand worker in an era of mass production.”

Susan Sontag

“There are dance artists, painting artists and writing artists. Authors are writing artists. You can practice art in any medium you choose, and words are mine.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

Happy Fourth of July, and have a wonderful summer. Be in touch if you have news to share.

Eileen