From Building Provincetown, the Book by by David W. DunlapCape Cod National Seashore | Thalassa (Shack 14)
Thalassa (θαλασσα) is the primal spirit of the sea and the name Hazel Hawthorne Werner gave to the smaller of her dune cottages. It was built in 1931 by the coast guardsmen, and brothers, Louis “Spucky” Silva and Frank Silva, who salvaged its windows from Eugene O’Neill’s life-saving station, gave it a front porch, and called it Seagoin’. They sold it to Werner in 1936. Her guests included E. E. Cummings, Norman Mailer and Edmund Wilson. It was here in 1996 that David Forest Thompson was first captivated by shack life. He went on to publish a delightful book of his paintings, Dune Shacks. Other artists and writers who have stayed here are Tabitha Vevers; her husband, Daniel Ranalli; and Allen Young. Thalassa has been managed since 2000 by the Peaked Hill Trust.
In May 2012 I spent a one-week residency at a dune shack at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Imagine one week alone to do nothing but write. No TV, no electricity, no indoor plumbing. It was like Ted Kaczynski meets Thoreau.
But, imagine how much you’d be able to get done.
Right now, right write. Turn everything off and get out a pad of paper. What would you write if no one cared, if it didn’t matter, if all you had to do was TRY. Montaigne wrote many essays. The French word for essay translates as attempt. Right now explore a subject, venture an opinion and work out your argument to support it. Write a poem or a few lines telling us what’s going on, right now. SEE James Schuyler’s June 30 1974