It’s been a busy few weeks! Wait. It’s been a busy THREE weeks! My dear friend Frederikke from Denmark was in town for the past seven days and I got the honor of showing her Portland ‘s essential attractions: its bounty of delicious food, gorgeous verdant landscapes and waterfalls, and of course, what it’s like to karaoke at the Alibi. Essentials. It’s been so fun to play and explore with Frede, but now that she has left, it’s time to get back to work.
I now have a date to finish the writing for my Iona book. May 1st. Yes, I know that seems a bit near. A BIT (cue hyperventilating sounds). I emailed the editor I worked with on my Camino book and told him I would be done writing by the end of April. It felt slightly crazy to be SO BOLD, but if I don’t give myself an external deadline, I tend to move sloth-like through my days. So… BOOM. A deadline.
Below you will find a new vignette from the latest writings. I hope you enjoy it.
One of the things that you learn when you travel, is not to judge a book by its cover. Everyone has a story, and that story will unfold as you step into a friendship. Sometimes the chapters and events in that story will surprise you. The hippie you met in the hostel might actually be a CEO. The woman that annoyed you when you met on the ferry might, in fact, become a kindred spirit.
When I first contacted John, I was emailing him about becoming an artist in residence at his hostel. All I really knew about him is that he ran the hostel and had a herd of black sheep. The first night, I arrived on the last ferry from Mull and he picked me up in his car and drove through the blackness to the North end of the island. As he deposited me and my backpack at the door of the hostel, he invited me and the volunteers that worked there up to his house for a movie night. I gladly agreed, eager to meet the people that would be my community for the following four weeks.
When I entered John’s house, and specifically his living room, I was stunned. This room, which I deemed the blue room, was magical. I felt that I had just entered a tiny, well curated museum. The walls were painted a deep, rich sapphire, with accents of jade green and shimmering gold. Each piece exhibited, from the couch and the coffee table, to the extensive paintings and art was clearly carefully chosen and lit. The artistry in the presentation and selection of pieces was masterful, yet the room still felt cozy and comfortable. As I sunk down into the pillows on the far side of the sofa eagerly taking in each color and shape, I felt honored to be invited to enter into this space. John poured some wine and put in the movie and we all settled in for a spell. As the light dimmed, I knew that I wanted to paint this space. I wanted to capture this creative expression of who John was and is.
It’s not that often that you find a shepherd who is also an interior designer, but I am less surprised by these things now. Travel does that to you- it opens you up; you learn to place judgement aside and allow the person to share who they are bit by bit, piece by piece. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get invited into a blue room.