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Fortification Resort

For Peter Williams

Fortification Resort counts on guests to respect our specially designed bylaws, and to engage in periodic personal exile. For self-repair. Some of what we provide: nourishing food, body creams, seaside views, organ protection. On each bedside table, a basket containing complimentary wrap-around, UV ray glasses and tubes of sun defense oil. Rays pass on Vitamin D, but so does a safer choice: oral tablets—even casual solar exposure brings danger. Cancer, premature aging, infertility.

Visitors approach their stay here as an investment in physical and cerebral productivity. Our mission is to provide healthy pleasure: polite, informed staff; well ventilated rooms with balconies; cooked or raw meals with and without animal ingredients; prohibition of unprotected sun bathing; state of the art gym equipment and movement classes (pounding exercises—in demand last decade—have been replaced with vigorous low- jolt forms of motion). In the beginning, beach checkers—assigned to verify that skin has been properly defended and peak hour bathing takes place under an umbrella or cabana—create a bit of an outrage. But over time, feedback turns positive; consumers appreciate the fact that they can leave Fortification Resort without any damaged skin to peel, inject, reconstruct. Our most recent bylaw (close the beach completely during peak sun hours until we build more sun shielding structures) meets with little resistance since it reinforces our missive of protection and allows us to offer special workshops on regulation observance and organ (particularly skin) lubrication.

Temporarily revised beach hours (early evening to mid-morning) bolster daytime indoor activity (fitness center, board and table games, film and book library, special seminars); because we are a multi-windowed structure on a prime piece of property with panoramic beachfront views, time spent indoors still gives one the sense of being out in weather.

We are realists, accepting—for example—that at a certain stage of everyone’s life, only technology makes skin glow a prospect. Still, even with creams, injections, surgeries, good habits are crucial for health: positive self image, frequent physical activity; ability to spend time alone, ambition to achieve.

Meals here are eye-popping; Chef accommodates food preferences and allergies, while maintaining devotion to health and pleasure (he relies heavily on the Omega-3 oils found in fish like salmon, tuna, anchovies and in the almond, walnut, avocado).

Walks alone on the beach, time spent on an (enclosed) balcony, or in one’s room are examples of periodic personal exile, more extreme is our one-night "Solo". Following a map with clear directions, a customer backpacks to a spot several miles from our hub where we’ve set up a well equipped tent (lanterns, charged up laptop, cooler), there, the guest spends an afternoon, night and morning alone to achieve what we call Personal-Fix. Inside the cooler is a six pack of water, a bottle of wine, and exciting meals prepared by Chef according to the individual’s specific needs; toiletries are backpacked in by the participant.

In case something goes awry, we have a video camera installed inside the tent and at various points around the camp, each guest carries a cell phone for the same reason, these measures eliminate any true threat of madness or danger. This element of charade—necessary for customer safety and our insurance. The laptop allows the participant to chronicle the range of emotions experienced while approaching the challenges of Solo, the blend of exhilaration, fear, solitude, anger. Rescue vehicles at Fortification Resort are gassed up and fully prepared to speed to the spot within minutes, should an individual in fact need assistance.

We attract a hardy kind of visitor; whining or complaining—for example—would wind a guest up in social exile. Sturdy would describe the culture created here at Fortification Resort; we use the term personal fix (rather than, say, self help) and do not encourage late night confessionals, or direct guests to save calories by cutting out sugar or oil.

Guests who frequent Fortification Resort are comfortable in a spa environment: hair and nail treatments; body waxes and oils. Attentive grooming offsets the stress of the furiously paced work and personal lives they tend to lead. Our reviving treatments make customers feel better, and do not require long periods of time away from professional or social circulation.

We provide a structured setting, without the extensive services of a medical or spiritual center; guests report that they leave Fortification Resort with lighter moods and worldviews. We are not geared toward the disturbed, depressed, infertile. Our repeat visitors come for casual, not serious, assistance.

We have no beef with those in need of more detailed repair. The opposite is true; we direct needy guests to places that focus on heavy-duty physical, professional, emotional reconstruction free of charge. Just this morning we transferred a customer who broke down during cocktail hour (late enough in the day to be held out, unprotected, on the beach) after revealing a distressing set of personal problems. We responded by driving him—teary eyed—to a nearby center outfitted to confront and contain such suffering. We believe he will function well in that particular placement, where difficulties are expressed under the supervision of an expertly trained staff. We took a different tack with a younger guest who stayed in her room for two days because she admitted to not being able to decide on the right color polish for her nails and toes. We invited her to view beauty and repair treatments in our spa. Inspired by what, at that time, was our latest rage (a topical ointment that moisturizes, protects from the sun, and increases fertility), she emerged permanently from self imposed exile and is now our daytime spa manager.

Exile repair view oil rage fertile


Lynn Crawford


The Brooklyn Rail

JUN-JUL 2003

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