At the Norman Mailer Writers Colony


End of June meant a week at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony on the Cape. My daughter Sienna and I loaded the car and headed south, listening to an Australian woman on the new GPS. (In Massachusetts there are no road signs just a lot of Dunkin Donuts and if you ask anyone for directions, they always tells you to take a right at Dunkin Donut’s, like there’s only one.) We picked up an extra boogie board along the way, and had paddle balls and a Frizbee—all of which stayed in the car because there was so much rain. I had wanted to head over to the ocean side for the waves.

A small group of writers was clustered at the Colony, and when we toured the upper reaches of the house the first morning, I was struck by how barebones Mailer’s office was—though anyone would die for the house. I wrote during the frequent downpours and Sienna and I walked in between—going for three and four-hour excursions. You just have to love Provincetown. Even in the crazy season, it made me homesick for Santa Barbara, where I lived forever.

The last two days the sun hit the beach and there we were, looking out at the bay, the cumulus clouds, one of those lighthouses that appeared to be planted out on the horizon for effect, and I was thinking maybe I had done something right in this world. Michael Cunningham, staying a couple of doors down from the Mailer homestead, walked by and wished us a good holiday. It was July 4th so we sat back and enjoyed the fireworks and toasted the week. (Name dropper.)

For info on the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, click here.

Watch Jeff Scher’s Summer Retreat video by clicking on the word, Summer, below.


essay copyright, lise haines

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  1. Sounds heavenly– So true about Dunkin Doughnuts & so true about You gotta love Provincetown… plus fireworks w/ Michael Cunningham–

    Never had heard before of Mailer colony but his ‘novel biography’ MARILYN is one of my all-time faves…

    • Lise Haines says:

      The Colony just started this year. There’s going to be a big fundraiser for it down in NYC this October.
      Check out the website:
      If you look at the main page you’ll see a stream of images. Yours truly is sitting at the table.
      But…you have to look quick!
      I owe you a post or two!!

  2. Doug Holder says:

    Lise Like your piece on the Norman Mailer workshop were there any naked or dead folks there? ( laugh) I’ll ask you a question about that on our interview–Doug