Reasons That Your Faculty Retreat Is Not Actually a Retreat

It does not involve a cabin in the woods.

It does not involve long walks.

It does not involve a scenic lake.

It does not involve hot yoga or cold yoga or any temperature of yoga.

It does not involve cucumber water.

It does not involve a single solitary second by yourself.

It does not involve a cottage on a cliff.

It does not involve gourmet picnic-basket lunches delivered to this cottage.

It does not involve an adorable desk by a window.

It does not involve a charming courtyard garden.

It does not involve a glorious river.

It does not involve a field of flowers.

It does not involve a single solitary mini pig.

It does not involve wine.

It does not involve birds.

It does not involve butterflies.

It does not involve peace and quiet.

It does not involve walking up a mountain.

It does not involve holistic wellness.

It does not involve ancient baths.

It does not involve anyone scrubbing dead skin off your body with salt.

It does not involve a farm.

It does not involve farm fresh eggs.

It does not involve a mossy pond.

It does not involve any form of charming wild animal (even a damn deer).

–—Susan Harlan’s humor writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Awl, The Billfold, Avidly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Hairpin, The Belladonna, Janice, and The Establishment. Her book Decorating a Room of One’s Own (Abrams, 2018) started as a column entitled “Great House Therapy” for The Toast, which won the Mark Twain House and Museum’s Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest in 2017. She has also published essays in venues includingThe Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Common, The Morning News, Curbed, Atlas Obscura, Public Books, and Nowhere. Her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March, and she teaches English literature at Wake Forest University.